Increasing the rural livelihood benefits from natural plant froduct ventures in Southern Africa : case studies and business models
Report submitted to The Ford foundation by CPWild, Stellenbosch university in collaboration with The school of forest resources, Pennsylvanis State University, Eduardo Mondlane University, Catholic University of Beira, FutureWorks and Fractal forest Africa
Natural plant processing enterprises provide an opportunity for rural development in southern Africa. Rural people can assist such enterprises in raw material procurement, processing activities and also as business partners. These enterprises serve as a link between the rural poor and affluent consumers looking for new and exciting natural products. Natural product enterprises function in a complex business environment and often fail due to various reasons such as poor management and marketing. This project investigated seven natural product enterprises as case studies between 2007 and 2008. The information gathered during the study was used to understand the complexities of the natural product business environment better. From the study it was possible to develop a southern African natural products enterprise model, as well as advise on the management of such enterprises. Some of the aspects highlighted in this study are: The very important role of a strong entrepreneur in making business work; the importance of flexible supply and demand relationships between natural product enterprises and communities; the role of product certification in accessing niche product markets and the need for training related to management and marketing of such enterprises.