Trade in medicinal tree and shrub products in three urban centres in Kenya uri icon

abstract

  • As pressures on agricultural and rural land increase, forest products are becoming a main source of non-farm income for many rural and urban households in sub-Saharan Africa. The trading of wild harvested medicinal tree and shrub material, mostly sourced from natural forest stands, bush, and savannah woodland, is poorly documented, particularly in Kenya. This study (a) profiles the socio-economic characteristics of traders and key species traded and (b) identifies the supply chain and quantities of material stocked and traded and assesses the economic value of the trade. Trading in medicinal tree and shrub products constitutes an important source of income for households and is often the only income generator, as 60% of the traders stated that they had no additional income-generating activities. There is a wide range in the quantities of material stocked and sold. There are significant differences regarding quantities and pricing of material between traders by location and gender. The material that supplies the markets is almost exclusively sourced through collection from the wild with little or no indication of sustainable supply from cultivated sources. And as the total volume of material collected from the wild and traded is largely unknown and potentially much greater than previously thought, this raises serious concerns for the sustainability of natural resources. Further species-specific research on the trade of medicinals is required to evaluate the extent of threat to natural populations, to analyse the value chains for sustainable production and marketing, and to assess the economic and ecological benefits from cultivating medicinal tree and shrub species on smallholder farms

publication date

  • 2012
  • 2012