Organic mongongo oil
Mongongo trees (Schinziophyton rautanenii) are widely distributed in Southern Africa. Once established, they fruit prodigiously: on a good year with suitable rainfall, fruit can lie ankle deep beneath productive trees. Mongongo fruits and their oil-rich kernels are important sources of nutrition for local people, while mongongo oil has traditionally been used for UV protection. Light yellow with a subtle nutty scent, the oil is a natural emollient that softens, hydrates, and encourages skin repair and cell growth.
After harvesting, the pulp of the mongongo fruit is removed from the nuts. Some of the pulp is used to brew a potent local beer and some fed to livestock, while the nuts are dried before they are cracked by hand to remove the inner kernels. The kernels are aggregated at collection points for purchase and transportation to KaZa's processing facility in Harare, where they are cold-pressed into oil.
Country of origin:
KaZa Natural Oils
June - September
How it’s produced
KaZa Natural Oils is an established producer of indigenous carrier oils with a strong track record of environmental and social responsibility.
Harvesters collect wild mongongo fruit for KaZa in Midlands Province, waiting for the fruit to ripen and fall to the ground for collection without harm to the trees. Plenty of fruit are left for local consumption and to ensure the germination of seedlings. KaZa's access permits for mongongo fruit are issued by the Forestry Commission, the Rural District Council and traditional leaders, stakeholders with whom KaZa works closely to manage and monitor harvesting and processing.
KaZa evaluates the mongongo population for risk of overharvesting, using an ecological management plan to ensure commercialisation does not negatively impact the mongongo trees or their environment and providing training around harvesting best practices. Each batch of mongongo oil is fully traceable and certified organic.
Mongongo harvesters (predominantly women) are organised into collectives that negotiate pricing and the terms of their long-term contracts with KaZa. The production of mongongo oil is considered a Biotrade activity: KaZa has established informed consent with the local authority in the harvesting community and mutually negotiated terms with harvester groups. The Rural District Council is the key stakeholder in the management and monitoring of mongongo commercialisation, in compliance with Access and Benefit Sharing regulation.