Right now, this year's soapberry harvest is taking place in the Himalayas, where we get our soapberry from. Under normal circumstances, we would have traveled there so that we could see it all with our own eyes - but this year we have to follow along at home from Denmark.
Fortunately, we have a strong team of Nepali collaborators who are good at sending us pictures and videos, so we don't feel left out. Of course, it's not at all the same as standing under the soapberry trees yourself, but it's great to see that everything is going as it should, and that Nepal is just as quietly getting its wheels turning again after a severe corona lockdown.
Trading soapberry is a long process. The soap trees grow wild in the Himalayas and with small local families and farmers, where they are ready to be harvested in the winter period. It is a period when the small communities come together to harvest this year's soap berries, and the berries that are being harvested right now in Nepal will not be ready for sale here in Europe until a year from now. After the berries have been harvested, they must go through a longer process.
First, the stones of the berries are removed by hand, and then the shells are laid out to dry in the sun's rays. When the shells are completely dry, they are packed loose in large canvas bags and sent by ship to Denmark. First to the port of Aarhus and then to the protected workshop Fabrikken Ålykke in Aalborg, which is an employment offer for the disabled. Here, the soap berries are packed in paper bags and then in our well-known cotton bags - also by hand. And in the end, of course, they end up in our webshops and at our dealers.
Through this slow process it is possible for us to generate income for approx. 125 families in the region of Nepal where our soapberry grows. We have chosen to pay in advance for the entire supply chain - even if this means that we pay for our goods almost a full year before we have them in our hands here in Denmark.
Typically, Western companies only pay for goods produced in developing countries when they have the goods in their hands at home. This means that producers in developing countries have enormous costs to set up production - and in poor countries like Nepal it is often not possible at all.
When we pay in advance, we can help with growth in one of the world's poorest regions. It is a big expense for a small company like ours, but it makes a huge difference - so we have chosen to prioritize it.
When you buy soapberries from Care by Nature , you are therefore helping us to invest in Nepal and contribute to green development in the region. Thank you!