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Community Fair Trade: Marula

Marula oil comes from the ripened fruit of the marula tree which is native to many parts of central and southern Africa. The women of the co-operative extract the kernels from ripe marula fruits by hand, then cold-press the kernels at their factory to extract the marula oil inside.


The Eudafano Women's Cooperative is owned and run entirely by women. They tell us that the experience of trading and of setting up their own factory has given them entrepreneurial skills and greater status in their communities.


Namibia has rich diamond deposits, a spectacular landscape, diverse flora and fauna and a growing tourism industry. But Namibia also has high unemployment. Between 2006 and 2009, 37.6% of the total labour force was unemployed. In many underprivileged areas, women, in particular, struggle to earn an income.



Helping to run the co-operative has empowered Neme, and others like her, with a greater sense of independence and confidence. The women now have a regular income to help pay for necessities like medical bills and help fund an education for their children.


The co-op has turned the traditional Namibian art of producing marula oil into a thriving business. In an area with few employment opportunities, this brings many benefits. For example, the money made from 3kg of marula oil can pay for a child's school uniform and school books for a year.


Marula trees are key to the livelihood of the co-operative. Harvesting the fruit from marula trees doesn't just safeguard the women's source of income. It also helps keep the land sustainably productive without having to turn it over to intensive cultivation.