Wednesday, July 30

Baobab Superfruit Arrives In Europe

Wild Harvest Pharma
Africa's "superfruit" arrives in the west: the growing trend for healthy, nature-based products in the developed world, and the more wealthy developing nations as well, is creating a potentially massive demand for some of Africa's traditional health-giving produce. Tom Nevin reports.

Natural products--food, cosmetics or alternative medicines--are becoming increasingly popular with a new generation of health-conscious consumers. These products most often draw on the traditional knowledge of communities in Africa and more than ever are finding lucrative markets in such developed economies as the US, Europe and the Far East.

One of the most exciting of these new generation products is the fruit of the humble boabab tree which grows practially everywhere in Africa. The EU has now given qualified approval for the fruit to be distributed and sold all over Europe, thus opening up a potentially vast market for small-scale African producers to exploit. "This is certainly good news for Africa," says Cyril Lombard, PhytoTrade Africa's marketing manager, "because it demonstrates the huge potential for Africa-wide supply of baobab."

PhytoTrade Africa was set up with the support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialised agency of the UN that helps micro-producers understand and exploit the value of their natural products and the new interest they are generating. This allows them to promote beyond their region and gain access to new markets.

In terms of commercial scope, the natural product market is already a big business. Global sales for herbal remedies alone are expected to reach $40bn by 2010, and Africa is widely seen as the last untapped source for such remedies.

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