Creating wealth 2016-11-22T08:30:22+00:00

Creating Wealth

Building income

local market

Local, underutilised plants can improve rural livelihoods, contribute to household food and nutrition security, help generate additional employment and income, offer opportunities for processing enterprises, contribute to foreign exchange earnings and support biodiversity conservation and other environmental objectives.

I grew up in this area with plenty of baobab. The fruits would just be left lying everywhere as people regarded them as food for baboons and monkeys. I never thought that one day baobab would be a source of livelihood for me and my family.
Anonymous, Zimbabwe

The role of women

Income from indigenous plants can make a significant contribution to rural households and improve their food security. Food insecurity is generally linked to poverty and limited opportunities for employment or income generation. Women play an important role in the collection and processing of local plant products. Given their responsibilities for ensuring food security at the household level, income generated from such activities is often an important means of providing food for the family. Ironically, in many cases, the areas that are richest in plant resources are also the poorest, because of their remoteness. The collection, processing and sale of indigenous plant products are often among the few income-generating opportunities available in these areas. Women from poor households are generally those who rely more on local plants for household use and income. Furthermore, local plants can offer vital insurance against malnutrition or famine during times of seasonal food shortage or emergencies. It is common for rural households to depend on ‘forest’ produce between harvests. Income earned from local plants is used mainly to purchase foods; in other cases it may be invested in agricultural land or agricultural inputs, such as seeds or livestock, housing, education or clothing. Local plants have also attracted considerable interest in recent years due to the increasing recognition of their contribution to environmental objectives. Indigenous plants have great environmental benefits, including conservation of biodiversity, if carefully managed; they provide possibilities for “eco-ventures” like small-scale enterprises, supply of genetic materials, buffer zone management, and wilderness-based tourism.

line of women carrying goods on their heads
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