Organic rosehip seed oil is derived from the Rosa rubiginosa bush, also known as sweetbriar rose, which is native to many regions throughout Europe and Asia. The material is cold-pressed from the seeds of the plant, providing a fixed oil that is rich in useful fatty acids, including omega-6 and linoleic acid. The raw hips of sweetbriar flowers are also a popular ingredient in teas, medicines and cosmetics, as they are rich in vitamin C. But for the growers of Lesotho, the sweetbriar bush is anything but a welcome sight—it represents a fundamental threat to their region’s biodiversity.
Communities in Lesotho harvest around 1,300 tons of rosehips each year, 520 metric tons of which are used for oil production.
Lesotho is well known for its modern production of rosehip products; rosehips are a staple component of the tea industry and the seed oil derived from the plant has numerous applications within the realm of cosmetics. Yet, the botanical from which this production is derived, is actually considered an invasive species and its ability to spread rapidly across the territory has made it a continued nuisance for decades.
To help quell its spread, the Kingdom of Lesotho has established a program that brings regular income to local communities in exchange for the collection of sweetbriar bushes. This project brings together thousands of people who harvest rosehip plants all year round, collecting the pulp for use in the tea industry and seeds for use in essential oils. Other companies, such as Berjé’s supplier in Lesotho, have developed long-term relationships with local farmers and provide rural communities with higher incomes that improve their access to education, healthcare and infrastructure.
Our partners in Thaba-Tseka are currently developing a schoolhouse that will service 89 pupils in a village of 50 families.
In Lesotho alone, Berjé’s partners within local growing communities harvest over 1,300 tons of rosehips each year. This operation funds a school in the Thaba-Tseka area of Lesotho, providing education for 89 students in a village of around 50 families. Our relationship with families at-source also provides them with supplies such as cast-iron cookware, Wonderbags and garden seed boxes for their homes.
By supporting local growing communities such as these, Berjé can provide high-quality raw materials while also spearheading new sustainability movements around the world. Organic rosehip seed oil is just one of many efforts we have made toward fostering the next generation of producers, ensuring that our communities and environments are protected for generations to come.
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