Devils Claw offers livelihood to many

23 May 2016 | News

By John Muyamba from the

Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) held a workshop to upskill committees of Kavango West and Kavango East on how to market, harvest and sell Devil’s Claw so that they could in turn impart this knowledge to others making a living from this precious resource.

According to Fidelius Mpofu, a field officer for the NNF in Kavango East, the programme started in 2010 with support from various non-governmental organisations (NGOs), while NNF offers technical expertise on how to harvest Devil’s Claw. He said local communities are being trained to be buying-point managers and also that they can train other villagers on how best to harvest this important natural resource.

The project is among several being funded by the United States of America under the auspices of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Southern Africa Regional Environmental Programme (SAREP), in collaboration with the NNF and many communities have benefitted to date.

“Devil’s Claw plant is said to be a proven medicinal use as a pain reliever and as a digestion aid. It is effective in treating arthritis and is a popular natural alternative to synthetic analgesics,” reiterated Mpofu. “Although indigenous people have used Devil’s Claw for thousands of years, the plant has in the past decades become an important export to European markets,” said Mpofu.

“We’re very grateful this season that we are getting a very good price… the price has risen by 40 percent, so it will be around N$28 per kg for the harvester and N$5 for the management committee for managing the whole process,” Mpofu said. “Considering this year almost no rains were received and no successful crop harvest in many areas of Kavango this plant can really bring in income for villagers. We know that the statistics show Kavango is the poorest region and this can make a difference in people’s lives,” he added. On average Kavango has generated more than N$2 million from Devil’s Claw so far and last year alone generated N$500 000 for communities in both Kavango East and Kavango West. The increase in price will make a difference in the livelihoods of communities relying on this resource. In 2010, the Namibian government approved a national policy for the utilisation of Devil’s Claw products, which included regulations on harvesting practices and a permit system.
The week-long workshop ended on Friday.