With a significant potential future demand for Allanblackia, large-scale, sustainable Allanblackia agroforestry will be important to realizing the full benefits to local communities. While this type of production is still a ways into the future, work has already begun to find ways to explore how to make it work.

To test whether Allanblackia is suitable for production in larger quantities and to demonstrate that truly sustainable large-scale agroforestry can be done, Unilever and Form international, both members of the partnership, established a 65 hectare pilot farm in eastern Ghana.

Planted Allanblackia tree

The farm is located in a degraded forest area and is fully integrated within the remaining forest. Large trees create a moist, cool climate and provide the essential shade for young Allanblackia trees to survive. The thick bush is only opened around the Allanblackia trees, giving them room to grow while maintaining the character of the natural vegetation.

Farmers that grow their food-crops in the area are now involved in the project as ‘intercroppers’. The shade from the other crops and the farmers’ careful weeding help the young Allanblackia trees grow.

In the more open areas of the farm, the planted Allanblackia trees restore the degraded forest cover, creating a forest environment that is the habitat of many species of birds and wildlife native to the area.

The results of the trial are promising. The aim for the future is to establish similar Allanblackia agroforestry farms on larger areas, combining the production of high quality oil with the restoration of degraded forests.

Allanblackia: A tree for Africa and its people