Webinar: Commercialization of Baobab Fruit Products as an Exemplary NTFP: Lessons Learned from Local to Global Markets
November 18, 2021
8:30–9:30 a.m. ET / 1330–1430 UTC via Zoom
A presentation by Katie Meinhold
Part of the “Unlocking the Bioeconomy for Nontimber Forest Products” webinar series.
Wild forest food resources are becoming popular, and products are increasingly entering modern food supply chains. Baobab fruit pulp features nutritional properties such as high levels of Vitamin C and selected minerals, especially Calcium, and phytochemicals such as polyphenols, making it an interesting candidate for the bioeconomy. Since it is naturally dry when the fruit is ripe, it can easily be used as an ingredient to enrich other foods and a variety of products have been developed in recent years including juices, snack-bars, and cookies, fostered by its potential health benefits and reduction of micronutrient deficiencies. While in selected countries with widespread baobab resources derived products are only slowly losing their ‘food for the poor’ image and are yet mainly used traditionally, in other countries products are increasingly also available in formal domestic food outlets, a transformation which has consequences not only on resource demand, but also on its supply chain organisation and product quality. To facilitate the jump onto international markets various innovations as well as a variety of actors and institutions in the global South and the global North were necessary, focussing both on the production side to achieve the high-quality standards demanded as well as on the consumption side to make baobab popular amongst novel consumers with no previous exposure to this product. Since most of these developments were pushed bottom-up using external support, there is a need to strengthen the institutional framework and enabling environment, to further foster the production of high-quality and ethically sourced products and contribute to rural development. Katie Meinhold will discuss these developments using baobab fruit products as an example, focussing on local markets, as well as how baobab overcame challenges faced by most NTFPs in gaining access to formal international markets.
This webinar series is hosted by the IUFRO Task Force, USDA Forest Service, The Forest History Society, and Renmin University of China.