The harvesting and sale of devil's claw from the Nyae Nyae and N#a Jaqna conservancies made a significant contribution to the income of harvesters in 2017.
The devil's claw plants reacted positively to the good rains received in the area in early 2017. The rotational harvesting system and sustainable harvesting methods introduced and diligently followed by harvesters allow them to benefit from this method of sustainable harvesting every year.
Approximately 200 harvesters in the Nyae Nyae conservancy harvested and sold 18,7 tonnes of devil's claw, realising an income of close to N$1 million. Next year the total projected income to the conservancy will be about N$1,4 million.
In the N#a Jaqna conservancy about 275 harvesters harvested and sold 21,7 tonnes of the plant and realised close to N$950 000 while the total projected income to the conservancy will be about N$1,2 million.
The harvesters, most of whom are from marginalised communities, get over 75% of the total income. The purchase price is negotiated at the beginning of each harvesting season.
This devil's claw is sustainably harvested, quality-controlled, fully traceable and is processed and stored in a manner that ensures quality.
The purchase price of devil's claw increased considerably in 2017, particularly in Nyae Nyae because the conservancy struck an arrangement with the buyer to obtain Fair for Life certification, a form of fair trade certification.
The concept behind Fair for Life certification is that producers from disadvantaged backgrounds can influence their own development by together deciding on meaningful projects that can be adapted to their local conditions. Fair for Life ensures that organisations and companies are committed to building respectful relationships, ensuring fair working conditions and respecting the environment within and along their supply chains.
Consumers are then also able to make informed purchase decisions.
An important factor in both conservancies is the consistency created by having a reliable buyer, and with proper contracts in place everybody involved knows their roles and responsibilities.
Both conservancies have contracts with EcoSo Dynamics CC, a local devil's claw exporter.
According to the managing director of EcoSo Dynamics CC, Gero Diekmann, the partnership is important and was built on mutual trust over the last decade. This has enabled them, together with the conservancies, to put in place a traceability system whereby each and every bag that is purchased can be traced back to the harvester and where it was harvested.
Both conservancies get support in negotiating prices, complying with Organic Certification and Fair for Life guidelines and to ensure sustainable harvesting. This support, given by the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia, is funded by an EU Climate Change Adaptation grant.