Organic Baobab Superfruit Powder, Directly From Africa To The US!
Using our fancy new (to us) truck, our intrepid driver, Masta and Jacob brought two shipments of Organic Baobab Powder, 500 kg each, to Lomé, Togo, and conveyed them to our Ghanaian friend, Freeman, who brought them to the airport in Accra, Ghana. One shipment went to Australia, and the other to Atacora headquarters here in Washington State. Both arrived in great condition, and, importantly, our customers are very happy! For the first time ever, Atacora is offering bulk Organic Baobab Superfruit Powder, and recent Certificates of Analysis confirm the purity and quality of our powder.
We have long wanted to diversify our product portfolio and offer our customers a wider range of unique African botanical products. We had a hefty Baobab production this year, so it makes sense to send it in a sea-freight container. To maximize the value of the container, we will be including some new products to test the market.
Virgin Red Palm Oil
Virgin Red Palm Oil (Elaeis guineensis) is a hot commodity in the natural marketplace right now. We performed a lot of research on how to obtain the finest quality available, and Jacob is presently supervising the production of eight barrels with our colleague, Rhylwann. We even figured out how to get Certificates of Analysis done in Benin according to international standards. This should be a big hit! Supplying full containers of this first quality oil is easily done.
The honey produced in northern Benin is the best I have ever tasted! The bees collect pollen from primarily Shea nut (Vitallaria paradoxa), Nérè (Parkia biglobosa) and Baobab (Adansonia digitata) tree flowers to produce this dark amber honey with a unique and nearly intoxicating aroma and flavor. You’ve never tasted anything like it, and we think customers will be blown away. Importing honey can be tricky, as certain countries have produced product adulterated with corn syrup, for example, so I’m researching all the hoops I will need to jump through for a smooth transfer.
Shea Butter is the darling of the cosmetics industry. It is a skin nourishing emollient applied to the skin either in its pure form, or mixed in soaps, lotions creams or shampoos. Benin has an enormous shea resource in the county’s North and center, and butter production provides tons of employment and economic advancement for poor, rural women. The Atacora team in Benin identified a women’s producer cooperative that holds the same values of Fair Trade, gender equality and environmental stewardship that we do, and produces the finest butter available. We are delighted to have found such great collaborators!
Moringa (Moringa oleifera) is a miraculous tree with myriad uses. Atacora planted several hectares of them, but while we wait for them to really start producing, we identified a producer of fine quality leaf powder who again shares our values. We will be bringing in about 100 kg of leaf powder to test the market. I’ve conducted extensive market research, and it is predicted to be a dominant force once it gathers more recognition. We will be ahead of the curve! The leaves and leaf powder are widely consumed from Asia to Africa and beyond for their superior nutritive properties. It is often promoted as a great tool to use in the fight against malnutrition, and even to help bolster the immune systems of HIV/AIDS patients. Many Peace Corps Volunteers are working to help promote this rich and sustainable resource.
There is a rare and ancient cereal grain called Fonio (Digitaria exilis, Digitaria iburua) that just so happens to be grown in the Boukombé area. It can be prepared like porridge or like cous-cous. Fonio is gluten-free (marketable), has a low glycemic index (good for diabetics, again marketable) and it is delicious. Given the whopping success that Quinoa has enjoyed, I see great potential, here. We will be bringing a sack or two to try the market.
The Atacora Advantage
We are also packing lots of Baobab Superfruit Powder, Baobab Oil and African Neem Oil, our flagship products that we produce ourselves at the Atacora Fair Partnership Women’s Cooperative near Boukombé. Sourcing other products from other producers is a delicate dance. To ensure the finest quality, production needs to be closely supervised by an Atacora core agent. As an ethically-based enterprise, we are obliged to fully vet producers for Fair Trade and environmental standards. Remember, Atacora is a social entrepreneurship which views the triple bottom line (people, planet & profit) as gospel. We deplore the exploitative practices that plague the commodities market in developing countries. The producers we choose as commercial partners with a view to long lasting relationships must also be our partners in the fight for a dignified future for African people. Stay tuned!
Happy Spring, Dave