09 Sep 2014 18:30pm
WINDHOEK, 09 SEP (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), with the assistance from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)-Namibia, launched the Indigenous Plant Products in Namibia book here on Tuesday.
This is the first comprehensive all-in-one book on indigenous natural products (INPs) in Namibia. It provides a snapshot of the current status of the commercialisation of INPs in Namibia, as well as other relevant and related information.
Launching the book, MAWF Permanent Secretary (PS) Joseph Iita said the commercial development of INPs is a long-term undertaking, where issues such as product quality and reliable and sustainable supply are crucial for success in a market where competition is fierce and international regulatory requirements are challenging.
The line ministry therefore emphasises the need for continued efforts towards building additional capacity focused on local value addition to expand the opportunities for and benefits to rural producers, he said.
Many challenges remain to be overcome for the INP sector to realise its full potential.
These challenges include dealing with aspects such as resource-based sustainability, management and technical capacity of producers, processors and local product formulators, managing supply and demand issues.
Other challenges include undertaking local research and development, attracting appropriate investment, and consolidating and increasing markets locally and internationally.
Addressing these challenges requires a long-term development view with necessary ongoing investments into all facets of the sector, said Iita.
It is hoped that an increase in awareness and knowledge of INPs at all levels will be fostered, from informal markets to fully commercialised trade, he said.
The PS said INP have made a valuable contribution to its people's nutrition, health and body care for millennia and continue to do.
Speaking at the same event, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MCA-Namibia Penny Akwenye said the NIP project benefited more women and throughout the project, primary producers were supported in training activities which focused on organisational, business and technical skills.
Over 9 200 primary producers have been trained in quality control, resource management, business management and contract negotiation, while over 5 200 people were trained in the sustainable harvesting techniques of Devils Claw.
She noted that since 2010, the number of products containing Namibian INP ingredients is estimated to be 130 for Devils Claw; 45 for Ximenia oil; 325 for marula oil; 80 for Kalahari Melon Seed; and 34 for commiphora.
There are potentially many more products in the international market that contain Namibian INP ingredients.
Akwenye noted that MCA-Namibia recognized that most harvesters, producers and processors will understand better and faster if the information is translated into their local languages and to this effect, some training materials and marketing bulletins are translated.
The book targets researchers, Government officials, service providers and the general public.