Allanblackia from seed to oil

This is a story about the current state of the Allanblackia seed oil supply chain, from harvesting the wild seeds to shipping to international markets.

Small holder farmers

A peoples' plant

Currently, around 25,000 people benefit from the Allanblackia production.

Family groups

One smallholder group consists of representatives from 15-30 families. The smallholder groups choose a clerk among their people. The clerk receives training in finance from a local company setting up the supply chain called Novel Developments Tanzania. A clerk earns a set wage for each day plus a 10% commission on the volume of seeds bought.

Harvesting

A special fruit

Allanblackia is the largest indigenous fruit of Africa. One fruit can weigh up to 7 kg!

Bertha's story

Bertha Anderson, the wife of a smallholder farmer in Tanzania with 3 children, began harvesting Allanblackia seeds 3 years ago. The additional income she receives allows her to send her children to school and buy household goods such as kerosene, cooking oil, soap and salt.

Bertha usually goes into the forest early in the morning during harvesting season to collect fallen fruits. Mature fruits fall to the ground which makes them easy accessible. 

The seeds

Income doubles during the harvest season.

Seed preparation

Back in the village she extracts the seeds and lays them out to dry on a raised platform.

The collection centre

Families commonly form smallholder groups that work together to prepare the seeds for collection.

The dried seeds are then brought to collection centers where a trained clerk inspects the seeds for quality and weight. The clerk pays the farmer a fixed price for the seeds. The people working at the collection centre see their income double during the harvesting season.

Oil production

Current demand for Allanblackia outpaces supply.

The oil mill

In Tanzania 6 fruits yield approximately 3 kg of seeds which can make 1 liter of oil

A natural process

The collected seeds are transported to an oil mill in Tanga. Here the seeds are gently heated and crushed to produce the oil in a natural and uncomplicated process.

After crushing the seeds in Africa, the oil will be shipped to Europe where it will be used in products such as margarine.

Sustainable production

Sustainable production brings the most benefits

Benefits Across the Community

Additional income

Production of Allanblackia seed oil provides an additional source of income and is a sustainable use for a wild forest resource.

Sustainable supply

The current wild harvesting process in Tanzania is certified by the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) as meeting its sustainability standard. This ensures not only environmental sustainability, but also local benefits, and it adds value to the oil in international markets. For these reasons, local communities and both commercial and non-commercial parties are keen to develop ways to grow the Allanblackia supply chain sustainably.