Treatt has been working with the community of Sigie Segoma village in Tanzania to source bitter orange oil since 1935. The village is based in an estate that was once owned by General Von Brandis. Despite pouring money and resources into the plantation the German had unfortunately failed to make the plantation profitable even though fruit trees had been planted on the estate as far back as 1904.
By the time Treatt’s chairman, E W Bovill, arrived more than three decades later he discovered the area had been completely overgrown. However, amidst the wild creeping foliage, he was astounded to discover more than 45,000 bitter orange trees and tonnes of fruit, simply rotting on the ground.
“It went to my heart to see such a waste,” the chairman said at the time. “And then when I found they had a couple of hand equelles that had never been used I set a couple of people to work at once and they got about a kilo of oil out of 1,000 oranges.
The discovery was the start of a long relationship between the community of Sigie Segoma and Treatt. Treatt still buys bitter orange oil from the estate and has invested in improvements designed to support the community such as donations to help build classrooms and schoolteacher’s accommodation at the local village school and the provision of books and wind-up radios.
The improvement of the educational facilities have seen an increasing number of pupils moving on to secondary education. Numbers at the primary school have increased to such an extent that Treatt is now working hard to try and find the money to build another classroom to cope with the increased demand.
Treatt is a supplier of raw ingredients to the flavour and fragrance industries. Established in 1886, the company is listed on the London Stock Exchange.