The Baobab for Dollars in Beitbridge (B4D) is one of the Southern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (SA RILab) innovation projects implemented in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe by RAEIN-Africa. The project falls under the Resilience Innovation Challenge for Food Security and Improved Income Generation (RIC4FIG) pathway 2 (Diversify local economy for resilience).
The problem addressed
Beitbridge district is characterised by high levels of food insecurity with households over dependent on agricultural incomes that are highly susceptible to weather induced shocks. Beitbridge is estimated to have 613,277 baobab trees with a capacity to produce in excess of 30 million kilograms of fruit annually. The current practice of harvesting and selling of unprocessed baobab fruit to local consumers and along the major roads earn local communities very little income.
The project seeks to diversify and increase household incomes and employment in Beitbridge through value addition on natural forestry products using baobab fruit as a test case. Natural forestry product value chains provide immense potential for diversifying and increasing rural incomes if the communities are capacitated to undertake processing, value addition and brand development for the products.
The project, unlike existing ones, will support processing within the rural communities in which the fruit is available and will support the certification of the products to be produced as well as their branding. The project will significantly increase household incomes, access to microfinance, create employment and increase the ability of households to cope with droughts and other weather induced shocks.
Dr. Alice Maredza