Smart, smooth and spotless
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CTA. 2002. Smart, smooth and spotless. Spore 102. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47775
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore102.pdf
In 2000, almost 30 women in Kathangu, a village in Embu, north of Nairobi, Kenya, started a project on making soap and oil from avocados. With extension and support from the National Agriculture and Livestock Programme, the project is now running...
In 2000, almost 30 women in Kathangu, a village in Embu, north of Nairobi, Kenya, started a project on making soap and oil from avocados. With extension and support from the National Agriculture and Livestock Programme, the project is now running successfully. Originally the community, like many other communities in the area, relied on coffee, but the low prices forced them to look for alternative sources of income. They were already growing avocados but much of it got wasted through the lack of markets. Kenya produces around 19,000 t of the fruits annually. The fact that it is a bulk product and does not keep easily makes it difficult to transport, store and market. In Kathangu, the overripe fruits which fall on the ground are now being collected every morning and processed into soap. A laborious task, both making the oil as well as the soap. For the oil, unripe fruits are cut into pieces and left to dry. When wrung in a cloth sack, the oil is released (1,000 fruits for a jar of oil, which can be sold for 500 Ksh or 6.45). For the soap, the ripe avocados are mashed and sieved through a wire mesh. This paste is mixed with cooking fat or coconut oil to get a homogenous mix. To this is added a little caustic soda (carbon hydroxide NaOH, the aggressive substance used for cleaning out blocked drains), which hardens the mixture. The mixture is then boiled over a slow-burning fire and stirred, and a little perfume is added. It is then left to cool slowly for 2 weeks into soap. The end result is a nice soap, especially popular with men for use as shaving soap. Vincent Agoya, Pambazuka, August 2002