Namibia: Community Rakes in N$129 000 From Devil’s Claw

A TOTAL of 186 community members of the Mpungu constituency in the Kavango East region has generated over N$129 000 from selling devil’s claw, a plant native to southern Africa, which has historically been used to treat pain, liver and kidney problems, fever and malaria.

It has also been used in ointments to heal sores, boils and other skin problems.

According to the Namibia Integrated Landscape Approach for Enhancing Livelihoods and Environmental Governance to Eradicate Poverty (Nilaleg) project, which has facilitated the sale, the community sold a total of 3 240kg on 9 and 10 August.

Nilaleg is a project under the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, responsible for an integrated landscape management approach in key agricultural and forest landscapes, reducing poverty through sustainable nature-based livelihoods, protecting biodiversity, restoring forests as carbon sinks, and promoting land degradation neutrality.

The plant was sold to EcoSo Dynamics at N$40 per kilogramme.

Namibia Nature Foundation, which was commissioned by the Nilaleg project, this year managed to train about 186 community members on the sustainable harvesting of natural resources, particularly of devil’s claw.

Out of the trainees, 137 were female and 49 male, with the majority being young people.

The second sell is expected to take place in October.

Ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda says the sale demonstrates the ministry’s commitment to its constitutional mandate, which provides for the protection of the country’s natural resources to benefit citizens.

“Through these interventions that the ministry is implementing together with its partners, we are reducing poverty significantly – especially in rural areas,” he says.

Devil’s claw (Harpophytum procumbens) is widely used as a medicine for treating arthritis, reducing pain and fever, and stimulating digestion.

More recently, it has become an important product for export to the European market, with the biggest exports to France and Germany.

In Namibia, devils’ claw is listed as a protected species under the Nature Conservation Ordinance, and may not be harvested or exported without the correct permits.

A sustainably harvested devil’s claw model is currently being implemented across the country to ensure the long-term use of this plant resource.

Nilaleg is a six-year project, funded by the Global Environment Facility through the United Nations Development Programme to the tune of US$10,8 million.

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