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New policy allows MET to monitor the usage of Devil's Claw products.

Devil's Claw has been a very important resource for the livelihood of many Namibians for over 50 years. In view of this, the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA-N) hosted a one day training workshop on the revised National Policy on the utilization of devil's claw products which was approved by Cabinet in July 2010, this week.

The aim of the policy is to assist the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) to manage devil's claw resources, processes and products to ensure its sustainable management as well as the effective promotion of biodiversity conservation and human development.

The policy will also allow MET to control the utilisation of the plant to ensure sustainable harvesting methods are used, collect information to facilitate trade in devil claws products and to promote value addition in Namibia as the biggest devil's claw exporter in Africa.

Under Secretary at MET, Simeon Negumbo said that the policy was drafted about ten years ago and has been used by staff members as an internal guiding document for permitting and regulating the utilisation of devil's claw in the country.

"With the assistance of MCA-Namibia, MET has finalised the devil's claw policy this year. The newly approved policy will therefore improve the existing framework to address sustainable management of the devil's claw as well as effective promotion of both biodiversity conservation and human development," he said.

The aim of the workshop was to train MET officials and Devil's Claw traders on the implementation of the newly approved policy.

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A similar workshop was held in June and attracted 27 MET officials and exporters from the main devil's claw producing regions.

Similar training workshops will take place next week in Kongola on 19 November and in Rundu on 22 November as well as in Otjiwarongo on 24 November.

"This policy is very important where Namibians are considered "price takers" rather than "price makers" and therefore a more organised and coordinated supply chain is expected to result in a better price for the product in its different forms, raw, semi-processed or processed," said Eline van der Linden, deputy CEO of Programme Implementation at MCA-N.

Devil's claw products, also known as Harpagophytu, have been harvested in Namibia for more than 50 years. In 1977 devil's claw was declared a "protected plant" due to concerns over possible overutilisation. Devil's claw is found in Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and some northern parts of South Africa.
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Article Details
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Author:Khobetsi, Lorato
Publication:Namibia Economist (Windhoek, Namibia)
Geographic Code:6NAMI
Date:Nov 19, 2010
Words:402
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