Presentation on theme: "The Commercialisation of Devils Claw in Botswana Flowering devils claw."— Presentation transcript:
The Commercialisation of Devils Claw in Botswana Flowering devils claw
Name and type of genetic resources The devils claw, Harpagophytum procumbens also known as grapple plant is a weedy perennial with a central taproot and secondary tubers (storage roots) branching off horizontally. The roots are found up to 2m deep and the secondary storage roots are up to 25cm long and 6cm thick. The devils claw is native to the Kalahari Desert of Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. In Botswana the devils claw is protected by the Agricultural Resource Act(1974) and accompanying regulations of 1977.
Actors involved 1. The Agricultural Resource Board (ARB): Government department issuing permits to control extraction and trade in Harpagophytum. There are three types of permits, an extraction permit, a transfer permit and an export permit. The extraction permit states conditions that the extractor has to follow to ensure that harvesting is sustainable.
Actors continue 2. Traditional communities: Mostly the San people obtain the extraction permit, and each permit is issued to one individual person in the community for three months, for a specific locality, and and stipulates a specific quota. They also obtain a transfer permit to enable them to transfer ownership of the harvested dried devils claw to their buyers.
Actors continue 3. NGOs, e.g. Thusano Lefatsheng and Veld Products Research, buy the devils claw from the communities and then sell to both local and international markets (South Africa, Germany, France, and South Korea) using the export permit from ARB. 4. Pharmaceutical companies in Europe and Asia: (being the last actor in the value chain make the most of it).
How the genetic resource is used: The devils claw is used traditionally by the San bushman as a digestive tonic, for headaches, fevers and allergies, and an ointment to alleviate pain during childbirth. Its medicinal properties were learned from the San by G.H. Mehnert, a German citizen in 1907. After the initial testing of its properties in the 1950s, more recent clinical trials have established that devils claw has anti- inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties for patients with degenerative joint diseases. Traditional communities still prefer to eat raw tubers as they believe in their medicinal strength when taken orally.
Today the exported devils claw roots are used by numerous pharmaceutical companies in Europe and East Asia to produce pills, capsules, teas, and creams for treatment of diseases like rheumatism and arthritis.
Type of ABS agreement (e.g. MTA, private contract, MoU, agreement under ABS legislation None
Agreed benefits (monetary and non-monetary benefits) None
Benefits realized to date Thusano Lefatsheng started selling the devils claw since 1986, and money has been the only source of benefit between the local communities and NGOs engaged in the commercialisation of the devils claw.
Direct contribution to poverty alleviation: Increasing rural off-farm incomes and hence providing some cash to those local communities for uplifting their living standards.
Lessons learned to date: Some villagers voluntarily practice rotational harvesting by harvesting in different directions away from the village each year to give the resources time needed to recover. NGOs engaged in exporting the devils claw have experienced some challenges in marketing the product leading to stockpiling from the previous harvest.
What changes at local, national/ international level Local: If there could be a dedicated resource user group to increase the use of the resources over modern medicine and herbs from other countries (India, China). National: Involvement of private sectors e.g. local herb stores and pharmacies in promoting the use of devils claw Access to finance by Thusano Lefatsheng and Veld Products to market the product to other countries like India, China, USA e.t.c. Regional: Joint strategic marketing initiatives.
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