The apricot kernel oil comes from our partner Mountain Fruit Co. in Pakistan.

In summer farmers irrigate fruit trees with water from glaciers in the Karakorum mountain range and the Himalayas. The unique properties of this ancient, glacial water enhance the quality of the agricultural produce from this region yet further.

In 2000 Mountain Fruit Co. started a Fairtrade programme in the Hunza Valley. Since then the Fairtrade Premium was used to buy school books and pay for stipends for gifted students and play grounds, for the installation of generators and irrigation projects.

And the Fairtrade Premiums did more than change living conditions for the better: “”Because of Fairtrade it is now acceptable for women to work and to be in a management position””, says Richard Friend who has been involved in the project from the start.

No mean feat in a traditional Muslim society. Most people in the Hunza Valley belong to the Ismaili Muslim community, known for its sponsorship of science, the art and the education of both boys and girls. Still, for the two production centres for fruit and nuts in the Hunza Valley to not only have a predominantly female workforce of nearly two-hundred, but also being successfully run by women is an achievement that needed a lot of men to think again and ditch some prejudices.

Photo credit: Tropical Wholefoods