Baobab Fruit Monitoring

As part of EcoProducts commitment to understanding the ecology and sustainable harvesting of baobab fruit, Dr Sarah Venter monitors a representative set of trees every March.

Dr Sarah Venter counting baobab fruit as part of a long-term fruit monitoring project


The trees are scattered between various landscapes, including villages, fields, rocky outcrops and bush.  Following the patterns of fruit production between landscapes and over multiple years, gives Sarah insight into the natural variability of baobab fruit production.

2019 appears to be another poor year of fruit production in this far southern tip of Africa. Since 2017, fruit production has been declining; possibly due to a combination of drought and late rains.

Climate not only affects the growth of the fruit, but also the survival of pollinators in the flowering season.  Sarah says, “with long-term datasets like this, we get a little closer to understanding the life cycles of these trees and the environmental factors which affects them.”

Women from local Venda villages are employed by EcoProducts to harvest baobab fruit pods

EcoProducts only harvests around 10% of the fallen baobab fruit which ensuring that trees are not damaged during the harvesting process nor is their ecology disturbed.

Nina Geraghty