Namibian Marula Oil makes it to America

Taneta Team (from left to right): Matty Nengola (Operations), Namupa Nengola (CEO), Nelao Nengola (Marketing), Andreas Kaita (Machine Operator).
Taneta Investment’s Marula oil products ready for export.

Taneta Investment is a women-owned, Namibian small business established in 2015 that has created a niche as a pioneer in the production and transformation of local Marula oil into luxurious cosmetic oil. Taneta partners with local rural women to obtain kernels of the Marula fruit and combines traditional knowledge with modern technology to cold-press the seeds into valuable Marula oil.

Marula oil is rich in vitamin C, E and other antioxidants that revitalize, nourish and protect skin against premature aging. Its light texture allows for easy absorption to keep skin moist and luminous, while Marula oil-based hair products prevent hair from becoming dry and brittle.

The company is dedicated to engaging women and ensuring sustainability and safety while producing the best quality Marula oil for their clients. The global organic cosmetics market is growing and there are new export opportunities for Namibian based companies like Taneta that successfully obtained organic certification with the support from the Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub (SATIH), a project funded by the U.S. Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

In 2020, Taneta Investment purchased Marula kernels from 60 rural women, a number that increased to 200 a year later. As part of the organic certification process, these women have been trained on sustainable harvesting processes. The women raise their incomes and living standards by selling Marula kernels to Taneta.

The USAID TradeHub also linked Taneta to South Africa-based trade promotion and marketing agencies, culminating in a deal with a South African natural and organic retail and skincare company for the supply of Marula oil products. Taneta created four ranges of Marula oil for various applications such as beard oil, baby oil, face oil and hair oil. The company is gradually increasing sales both locally and internationally with recent orders from European countries like Germany and Spain, and a shipment of samples to a U.S.-based buyer in July 2022.

Taneta’s growing success on South African and global markets is a testimony to the company’s philosophy which aims at sustaining the ancient ways of processing Marula and other fruits. The new kids on the block of Namibian cosmetics producers are keen to protect such traditions while simultaneously improving the livelihoods of the country’s rural women who constitute their supply chain. In Namibia, Taneta’s Marula oil products are available in selected retail stores, the Namibia Craft Center, and the duty-free shop at Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport.