Namibia: Community collects N$ 129,000 from Devil’s Claw

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

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

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

Nilaleg is a project of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism that aims 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 the Land degradation is responsible for neutrality.

The plant was sold to EcoSo Dynamics for N$40 per kilogram.

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

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

The second sale is expected to take place in October.

Ministry spokesman Romeo Muyunda said the sale demonstrates the ministry’s commitment to its constitutional mandate, which is to protect the country’s natural resources for the benefit of citizens.

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

Devil’s Claw (Harpophytum procumbens) is commonly used as a medicine to treat arthritis, relieve pain and fever, and stimulate digestion.

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

In Namibia, devil’s claw is listed as a protected species under the Conservation Ordinance and may not be harvested or exported without the appropriate 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 Program with US$10.8 million.

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