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1st Regional Workshop on a Marula Sector Development Plan

Windhoek, Namibia, 4-5 November 2019

This is the first regional Marula workshop, building on the success of a July 2019 South African workshop organised by the ABioSA project.

This workshop is part of a wider long-term effort to help African countries develop the sustainable utilisation of natural resources while supporting development of legal and institutional frameworks under the Nagoya Protocol.

More than 50 delegates from the southern African biotrade sector gathered to consult on a future potential sector development plan for Marula.

Participants from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe included representatives of harvesters and primary producers, the development sector, government and its implementing agencies, and people involved in manufacture or trade in Marula products.

The workshop was organised by two projects:

  • The GIZ-executed ABS Compliant Biotrade in South(ern) Africa (ABioSA) project - funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Cooperation (SECO) - with the South African Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) as a main partner
  • The GIZ Biodiversity Management and Climate Change (BMCC) project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

It was hosted by the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

Download the report of the workshop and its outcomes.

For the presentations see downloads below.

Here are some key conclusions

  • The Marula sector has the potential to stimulate rural development, job creation and new export markets – with spin-off benefits in technology, innovation, development of small businesses and skills development.
  • Successful economic sectors need a coordinated and collaborative approach. The Marula sector can learn from other sectors’ approach to engagement with government, collaborative planning, shared objectives, standards and market development.
  • Development of the Marula sector must take account of ABS regulations, conservation and sustainable use, and indigenous knowledge. The sector will require evidence-based ecological, economic and social baseline data and monitoring.
  • A future regional sector development plan should be aligned with national and local priorities and initiatives, and requires coordination and consultation with stakeholders.
  • The regional plan should prioritise a few elements where it can have the most impact. Reliable supply, quality standards and market access were identified by delegates as priority elements.
  • The plan should contribute towards social, environmental and financial sustainability. 
  • Commercialisation of the Marula sector will include domestication and cultivation to improve genetic strains, quality and reliability. This can work alongside wild harvesting.
  • The Marula sector plan should remain under management of a representative body in southern Africa. 
  • Short term market access initiatives may be assisted by development of a representative platform or proto-association.
  • Conservation and sustainable use need capacity development, training and funding to protect the resource for future generations. 
  • A sustainable Marula sector requires resource assessments and monitoring that include volume of supply as well as social, cultural and environmental conditions.
  • Sustainability needs to take account of climate change.
  • The sector needs to develop a scientific basis for claimed Marula benefits which can be articulated at industry, consumer and policy level.
  • The focus of a sector development plan should be on implementation of tangible activities which benefit local communities and stimulate economic opportunities
  • A crucial factor for the success of a Marula sector development plan is to ensure ownership of the process and plan among all relevant national and regional stakeholders.
  • The process of developing a sector plan must be cognisant of different challenges and circumstances in various countries in the region