Bigodi Peanut Butter Project
As you read this, recall that Alishan and Tengu Natural Foods were founded because we wanted natural peanut butter. This summer I traveled with my family to Uganda and Kenya. I had visited the same area over 30 years ago for the simple direct experience of “knowing”. This time round we wanted not only to “know” but also to visit organic farming friends and suppliers.
In Uganda and most of Central Africa peanut butter, peanut sauce and peanut powder are a staple. They call them g-nuts ( short for ground nuts). In Western Uganda, an hour south of Fort Portal at the base of the Ruewenzori Mountains we traveled to the very small village of Bigodi on the edge of the Kibale Forest. Kibale has the highest density of primates in the world. There we met Helen Bandashi one of the organizers of 100 woman farmers. In Ugandan villages woman are the main farmers. These members cultivated plots of 1 to 10 acres ( 10 acres is very, very large for a village farmer). Uganda soil is very rich, fertile and for the most part water is not a problem.
Facts about the project and the peanut butter:
- they plant and harvest two crops per year of ground nuts
- the sesame they use comes from Northern Uganda
- they can produce 100 jars (40kg) in a day of processing
- total production at this time is 700 kg yearly. They hope to grow sales and production by selling to Kampala ( 4 hours by road)
- their recipe is 80% peanuts with 20% sesame & salt
- sesame and g nuts are both roasted in a pan over a wood fire.
- peanut skins are removed ( we leave skins on for Alishan peanut butter)
- nuts are mixed in the grinder first to a powder that then turns into a paste, (I did not yet find out why sesame added.)
- A 400gram jar sells for around $2.50 at a store in Fort Portal.
- The projects clear profit after all expenses and farmers being paid is $0.30/jar or 10% of retail price. This is reinvested in the community
Helen also raises rabbits in back yard hutch, a pen of pigs and little piglets. All good cash and protein providers. We will be staying in touch with the project and hope to support them in some way to develop further.