Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Innovator Profile: Avomeru

Hi everybody! I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at some of the projects Twende is incubating. So I looked up and picked the people sitting directly across the worktable from me, which means that today I'm going to tell you a little about Avomeru, an avocado oil business currently based out of Twende.

The guys in the picture are my friends and co-workers, Igg, Jesse, and Tristan. Jesse has been working on making oil out of waste avocados from his home village, Leguruki, since 2014. That was the year when there was an International Development Design Summit (IDDS) in Arusha. If you're not familiar with IDDS, you can read about it at Basically, it's a summit that brings together entrepreneurs, makers, and all kinds of innovators from around the world to work with local communities on solving local problems. 

Jesse's team, working in Leguruki, saw hundreds of huge, delicious Reed avocados left on the ground wherever they fell, getting eaten by animals or just rotting. It turns out that Reed avocados grow wild and abundantly in Leguruki, but are too fragile and short-lived to ship to market. So over the course of the summit, they developed a plan for drying and pressing the avocados to extract oil. Now, community team members in Leguruki can press their formerly discarded avocados into cooking oil.

Over the last year, people around the world, including a team of MIT students and more partners in Leguruki, have joined the project. Jesse, Tristan, and Igg started turning the venture into an independent company under the name Avomeru. They've been perfecting the production process, conducting market research, and drumming up interest in pure, Tanzanian-made avocado oil for cooking and cosmetics. They've discovered a big demand for their oil, and Jesse and Igg are now working full time one getting funding to scale up from prototype to production. Once they get everything up and running, the plan is for Avomeru to provide oil presses to avocado-growing coops through interest-free loans, buy the oil, process and package it, then sell it to high-end food and cosmetic markets. 

To hear the story directly from them and see some images of Leguruki, check out their promotional video:

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