Devil's claw harvesters reap rewards

19 August 2020 | Agriculture

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK



About three tonnes of devil's claw to the value of nearly N$160 000 has been sold to EcoSo Dynamic.

The money was distributed among 20 harvesters from the Omuramba ua Mbinda Conservancy in Omaheke at a recent event organised by the conservancy together with the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF).

The sustainable devil's claw harvesting project is funded by the Social Security Commission (SSC) through its employment creation scheme as an income-generation project. The project is co-funded by FNB Namibia through the FirstRand Namibia Foundation.

The conservancy held its first sale at the Okatumba Gate to sell devil's claw harvested within the conservancy by its members.

The harvesters received a fair price of N$53 per kilogram. The arranged sale event is convenient as it cuts out 'middlemen' and 'bakkie buyers' who exploit the harvesters by offering low prices of less than N$45 per kilogram for dry devil's claw.



Sustainability

“The importance of the sustainably harvested devil's claw (SHDC) model currently being implemented in Omaheke is to ensure that the plant resource is partially harvested for its tubers to allow time for the plant to recover; thereby ensuring communities continue to benefit from this plant resource into the future, if harvesting is done properly,” SSC project leader Chris Tjijahura said.

“Part of the support to the Omuramba ua Mbinda Conservancy under the sustainable harvesting of devil's claw project entails providing training for contract development and trading agreements for the conservancy management committee to be able to enter into fixed contracts with a buyer,” said Nabot Mbeeli, NNF community-based natural resource management coordinator.



Thinking of the future

The vice-treasurer of the Omuramba ua Mbinda conservancy, Jackson Hengari, added they will continue to promote the SHDC model because they want the future generations to benefit from this precious plant.

Devil's claw is protected by law and controlled by the environment ministry.

It is a traditional southern African medicinal plant that has been harvested for its tubers, which are used to treat arthritis and other diseases of the joints. It also stimulates digestion and reduces pain and fever.

The plant has become an important product for export to the European market, with the largest exports to France and Germany.

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