At Bright Mountain Oils, we see our precious raw ingredients as being at the heart of all that we do. We appreciate not only the value of our potent botanical ingredients, but also of those who diligently harvest them each year. BMO has established long-term supply chain partnerships in Lesotho and Mozambique for fully controlled, sustainable harvesting with a positive social impact for partner communities.
We can barely believe that we are already almost halfway through the year and well into our 2022 rosehip harvest season. This year’s rosehip season is looking really promising, with an abundance of rosy berries adorning the thorny rosehip bushes that creep across the hills of Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains. This bountiful harvest bodes well for local harvesting communities, as well as the production of rosehip tea and oil this year.
A large portion of global rosehip supply originates from commercial rosehip farms in South America, where the plant risks being tainted by pesticides and other contaminants. In contrast, our rosehip is 100% organic, growing wild and prolifically in the mountainous kingdom of Lesotho (a tiny country made up of highlands and entirely landlocked by South Africa), where it is ethically sourced directly from local communities.
Over 40% of the Lesotho population lives below the international poverty line. Lesotho has been declared a high-altitude desert where resources are very scarce, meaning rural people have very little in the way of a sustainable income, especially during the winter months. The harvesting of rosehip berries over the winter season has provided many communities with crucial income-generating opportunities to sustain life.
“Creating sustainable trade in local communities is a cornerstone of our business,” explains Dane Poulsen (BMO Managing Director). We would not be the sustainable business that we strive to be without the commitment of our dedicated harvesters. We see it as vital that community members not only understand the value of their natural resources, but also gain maximum benefit from their botanical heritage. Therefore, BMO strives to ensure that value is channelled directly to the rural people of Lesotho. We have thus built close relationships with local community members in Lesotho to enhance rural livelihood opportunities. Currently, over 500 local families benefit economically from their natural surroundings in a sustainable and responsible manner.
Rosehip harvesting takes place according to the natural growth cycle of the wild plants. The harvest season is, therefore, determined by atmospheric temperatures, the amount of rain the plants receive, and the natural pollination that takes place. Our harvesting methods are organic and non-commercial, which means that each treasured berry is heedfully harvested by hand on the sweeping slopes of Lesotho. Over 90% of our harvesters are women, who pick the rosehips between March and October. BMO liaises with local community councils in Lesotho to ensure that the rosehips are harvested sustainably, that the biodiversity of the region is preserved, and that a fair price is paid to local harvesters through the application of benefit sharing.