Africa Naturally

For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, “You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land. – Deuteronomy 15:11

The organically grown Tea Tree Oil, melaleuca alternifolia, is the first essential oil to be produced in Mozambique.  Tea Tree Oil is indigenous to Australia and the seed for our trees was donated by Australian farmers, the Fletcher family, in 1998.  Mozambique is still one of the 10 poorest countries in the world and Africa Naturally was established as a small social enterprise to create employment, provide training, in land preparation and management, seedling germination and essential oil production, care for the environment and to bring hope and a way for people to support their families.

  1. Africa Naturally Beginnings

    Africa Naturally Beginnings
    Janet originally went to Mozambique in 1997 to establish the Africa Naturally farm, a social enterprise to give local Mozambicans opportunities and hope. This small enterprise has a big impact for those involved.
  2. About Tea Tree Oil

    About Tea Tree Oil
    We have been producing Tea Tree Oil since 2001, the first essential oil to be produced in Mozambique. Tea Tree, melaleuca alternifolia, is indigenous to Australia but the conditions on the farm in Mezimbite are ideal for Tea Tree farming and 0il production.

    Tea Tree Oil is an essential oil with anti septic and anti fungal properties.  It is used extensively throughout the world in toiletries and pharmaceutical products and a variety of products from shampoo for people and pets to skin creams and toothpaste. It is also sold pure in small coloured glass bottles in health shops and chemists and can be used straight from the bottle, or diluted in base oils, cream or water, for skin, hair nails and as a gargle.  Find out more about tea tree oil here.

  3. Impact of Sustainable Employment

    Impact of Sustainable Employment

    Sustainable employment brings many long term benefits for individuals and families, especially as their is no government support for the unemployed (about 90%). Long term employment positively impacts health and wellbeing; breakfast and lunch is provided, medicine as needed and a regular income brings improved nutrition for children and improved school attendance. School attendance and exams are not free and there are fines for non attendance. This is a huge burden for the unemployed and low waged.

  4. Impact of Training

    Impact of Training

    Many adults in rural Mozambique have received little education, especially those growing up during the long war of independence, 1964-74 and civil war, 1977-92. We provide ongoing training in land preparation, seedling germination and nursery management, oil production, administration and leadership, all of which build skills and confidence. Training and farming methods take account that many have low levels of literacy and builds skills and knowledge that can be transferred for improving family substance farming, increasing harvests, building small family businesses and understanding nutrition to benefit children.
  5. Growing Tea Trees

    Growing Tea Trees

    Our melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) seed was originally donated by the Fletcher farming family, from New South Wales, committed to helping poorer communities.  They made several visits to us in the early days when establishing the farm, fields and equipment.
    The seed is tiny and needs to be carefully nurtured in our seedling nurseries before planting out.  Here they grow to 6-8 inches/15-20 cm and then placed outside the nursery in the sun to harden up. The next step is to plant seedlings in the fields in rows.
  6. Tea Tree Oil Production

    Tea Tree Oil Production

    Tea Tree Oil is produced by steam distillation.  Trees are collected from the fields and small branches are stripped from the trunk.  These are packed evenly into the still and sealed with a lid. The steam works its way through the leaf, collecting the oil along the way and cooled in the condenser.  It is then collected from the separator.
  7. Caring for the Environment

    Caring for the Environment

    We like to take great care of the farmland.  We use conservation and organic farming methods, no chemicals nor pesticides and zero tillage.  The farm land was originally miombo forest, cut down by Portuguese farmers for cashew and mango farming.  In 1997, when we began, the land was covered with grasses and old, non productive cashew and mango trees. Each year we plant indigenous trees for windbreaks and restoration of original flora. The bird life is amazing!
  8. Organic Certification

    Organic Certification

    Our oil was first certified organic in 2004, with Ecocert. We have been certified each year since then through 2016 with Ecocert or Afrisco. This involves an annual inspection plus providing large amounts of information about our farming processes, training and sales. Since November 2016 we have not been certified but continued organic practices and standards. The dough of 2015-16 greatly reduced our production and we had insufficient funds for the costs of the inspection. We had planned to resume certification in 2020 but with the Covid pandemic, this became difficult for us to arrange since our market has not been demanding organically certified tea tree oil. Now, in 2023, will re-evaluate the situation.
  9. Looking Forward

    Looking Forward
    There is ongoing planning for continued sustainability for the farm and the team. Expansion of the Tea Tree is ongoing, slowly and consistently, and we are currently piloting organic Lemon Balm, Lemon Grass and Peppermint. In the current difficult political and economic period and with the recent drought, 2016-17, we must be creative and resourceful. We will build a local market for the essential oils via retail outlets and tourist resorts. This will lead to more skills for the team and increased job opportunities.
  10. I am Mozambique!

    I am Mozambique!

    My daughter, Gabrielle, was at primary school in Mozambique. It was a small school with expats and Mozambicans.  In reception, which included year 1, her school made a small presentation. Gabrielle’s class presented, What am I? All the children stood up and asked a question such as; I have 2,470 km of coast line, what am I? I have 40 local languages, what am I? As the youngest Gabrielle went last and her lines were; Q: ‘What am I?  A: I am Mozambique!’ Being young, and not at all looking like a Mozambican this produced a huge laugh much to her surprise and bewilderment. Mozambique is beautiful, the people are friendly and have great resilience. It’s not possible to leave your house, go into town or to the market without being stopped by everyone you know, however vaguely; ‘How are you, Como está’? Como está sua família? The country has rich resources and has been free from war for over 20 years until recent troubles. However, this school presentation did not include the impacts of the war; lack of education and low literacy for many, lack of effective commercial enterprise, lack of employment, and life since; lack of good nutrition for children and material poverty for the majority of people, especially in rural areas. Even so, there is joy, energy and resourcefulness.
    Q: I have great poverty, lots of challenges but also great hope, what am I?
    A:I am Mozambique!