Omaheke-based conservancy reaps benefits from devils-claw harvest
The Omuramba ua Mbinda Conservancy, based in the Omaheke region, recently held its first and formalized Devils’ Claw buying event at Okatumba Gate and generated income close to N$160,000 which was distributed among 20 harvesters within the conservancy.
About three tons of Devils’ Claw were sold to EcoSo Dynamic for the amount. The harvesters received a fair price of N$53 per kilogram offered by the buyer to the harvesters through the conservancy as the custodian of the natural resources and formalised structure to the benefit of its members.
The arranged buying event is of convenience to harvesters as it reduces exploitation of the poor and vulnerable harvesters by cutting out ‘middlemen’ and ‘Bakkie-Buyers’ that offer low prices of less than N$45 per kilogram of dry Devils Claw.
In addition to this approach of reducing the exploitation of harvesters, they were able to save on logistical costs such as transport of up to 500 km to find a buyer at a time of constraint financial resources and limited opportunities.
“The importance of the Sustainably Harvested Devils Claw (SHDC) Model currently being implemented in Omaheke 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,” Chris Tjijahura, Social Security Commission’s Project Leader said.
Nabot Mbeeliamibia Nature Foundation’s CBNRM said part of the support to Omuramba ua Mbinda Conservancy under the 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.
The vice-treasurer of Omuramba ua Mbinda conservancy, Mr Jackson Hengari added that they will continue to promote the SHDC model because they also want the future generations to benefit from this precious plant as they are benefiting today, and ensure alternative income generating opportunities are available to conservancy members to utilize their natural resources especially in a time of need and resource constraints like that currently brought about by COVID-19.
The Sustainable Devils Claw Harvesting project in Omaheke region is funded by the Social Security Commission through its Employment Creation Scheme as an Income Generation project. The project is also co-funded by FNB Namibia through the FirstRand Namibia Foundation.
Caption: Devils’ Claw is a traditional Southern Africa medicinal plant that has been harvested for its root tubers and used throughout Namibia over the past years. In Namibia, it is protected by the law and controlled by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.