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Avocado Oil Press in Tanzania

With this student innovation grant from GCFSI, the project team will work to implement an avocado oil press in in Leguruki, Tanzania; develop refinement processes and bottling processes; and launch a pilot product--all in an effort to increase food security and boost local nutrition and incomes.

Team Members: Ellie Klose and Elizabeth Hoffecker Moreno

In a rural farming town in northern Tanzania called Leguruki, there is at least one avocado tree on every farmer’s land. Yet, approximately 50 percent of all avocados in Leguruki go to waste. Selling avocados locally with the system in place now is extremely unprofitable because of the fruits overabundance and its short shelf life.

As a solution to this problem, the community of Leguruki has shown the most interest in pursuing avocado oil production. The avocado oil also has an expanded shelf life of about one year, and can easily be distributed due to its relatively small volume and improved durability. Since the fall of 2014, a team of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and partners in Tanzania have been working towards developing small-scale avocado extraction. With funding from GCFSI, the team will be able to develop refinement processes, bottling processes, and launch a pilot product. Not only will this help increase food security, but also the project will boost local nutrition and incomes.

With support from GFCSI, the team will further advance the production and marketing of avocado oil. To speed up processing, the team has developed a prototype for a bicycle-powered continuous press technology used to harvest greater amounts of the avocado oil. They plan to implement the prototype bike into personally selected and interested local farmers. The team also plans to use the funding to expand the purposes of avocado oil to cosmetic and body products since Avomeru avocado oil contains high levels of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats. This makes the oil a better option for both food and skin than the usually marketed sunflower oil. Several stores have already shown interest in carrying locally harvested avocado oil once the research team finishes their work developing the value chain is for avocado oil in Tanzania.