Allanblackia in a Nutshell


Named after Scottish botanist Allan Black, Allanblackia is a flowering plant in the Clusiaceae family mainly present in the rainforest belt of Western and Eastern Africa. Allanblackia is an evergreen, medium-sized tree, bearing large fruits, which holds up to 50 seeds. Several species can be found in Africa.

Allanblackia oil – tell me more!

The kernels oil is high in stearic and oleic acids and is traditionally used as cooking oil or to prepare medicine or soap, so far only on subsistence level. However, Allanblackia oil melting point is at body temperature, a property that makes it ideal for use in spreads like margarine or in cosmetics. As Allanblackia oil is solid at room temperature, no further modification like hardening or fractionation is required.

Allanblackia oil is mostly produced through the collection of wild seeds. Whilst there are millions of trees in natural forests, and the nuts are relatively easy to store and handle, the trees are dioecious (separate male and female plants) and they do not flower or fruit every year, which makes annual production unpredictable. In addition, Allanblackia trees grow in areas which are rich in biodiversity but often have high poverty rates, meaning that demand for the local forest goods is high.


Conserving biodiversity – valuing nature

In cooperation with organizations such as IUCN, Unilever and UEBT, Novel Development Tanzania is working to establish and develop a sustainable Allanblackia supply chain in rural communities in Tanzania that promotes equitable income generation while conserving biodiversity.


Creating a market for Allanblackia oil means promoting the value of local biodiversity and forest products, which could otherwise be cut and used for firewood. Income benefits from Allanblackia can then motivate farmers and communities to protect Allanblackia trees and plant new ones. Whether trees are planted on farms or for restauration of degraded landscape, they are expected to contribute significantly to environmental conservation.


Cultivation programs of Allanblackia trees are a recent development. These are accompanied by appropriate guidance on management of the crop to provide a low-risk inroad into international markets for smallholders. So far, more than 3,000 smallholder farmers in Tanzania have been mobilized and trained to plant new trees.


Poverty reduction

Allanblackia seed collection from the wild is very attractive to rural people with about 50% of those involved in the supply chain being women. This is one of the few resources that give them direct access to generated income. Income obtained by women from Allanblackia seed sales in most cases is invested to the well being of the family. Seeds are dried by the community before being transported to a local crusher for oil extraction. For each group of villages, a contact person ensures that seeds are gathered and collectors are paid.


Allanblackia has the potential of becoming an important contributor to improved livelihoods of the rural poor.
 Allanblackia fruiting happens during a time of year  when savings from other crops (e.g. cocoa) are low and inputs are needed to prepare agricultural lands. Income from Allanblackia can help bridge this income gap.

Sourcing with Respect

As a member of the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), the company Novel Development Tanzania is committed to gradually ensuring that its sourcing practices promote the conservation of biodiversity, respect traditional knowledge, and assure the equitable sharing of benefits.


Novel Development Tanzania’s management system and local supply chains are verified by independent auditors every three years against UEBT’s Ethical BioTrade Standard. Summaries of the audit reports and annual progress reports are available on the UEBT website.

International Partnership for Allanblackia

Novel Development Tanzania is part of an international partnership committed to creating an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable supply chain for Allanblackia oil, which will provide the local population with supplementary income. This alliance includes several other organisations like the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Unilever, the Union for Ethical BioTrade and several other key local and international partners.


More about Novel Development Tanzania here.

More about the Allanblackia Partnership here.

More Publications
Allanblackia Treasure of the Forest EN
Africa: Rich in biodiversity, rich in opportunity EN