Review on value chain analysis of medicinal plants and the associated challenges
Mebrahtu Hishe, Zemede Asfaw, Mirutse Giday
At present, 80 percent of the populations in developing countries rely largely on plant-based drugs for their health care needs. The present medicinal plants value chain is characterized by the informal nature of its upstream base (producers, gatherers and collectors) and its better organized and more formally structured actors downstream (processors and wholesalers/retailers). Overall, the value chain operates with little vertical integration and almost no horizontal collaboration. The goal of this analysis is to provide a diverse group of stakeholders with the information needed to make sound decisions and plan interventions focused on developing productive and globally competitive industries dependent upon the sustainable management of scarce natural resources that will benefit local people. The collection and marketing of medicinal plants from the wild is an important source of livelihood for many of the poor in developing countries. Value chain strengthening is a potentially powerful tool for promoting NHWP (Nature, Health, Wealth and Power) - related development goals, but deliberate interventions are necessary to create opportunities for the rural poor. Medicinal plants can be collected from wild and cultivated areas. The supply chain is often very long with as many as six or seven marketing stages involving primary collectors and producers, local contractors, regional wholesale markets, large wholesale markets and specialized. Medicinal Plants supply chains have varying requirements for their cultivation, resource management in the wild, harvesting, processing, and importantly marketing. In order to become competitive in the medicinal plants global market place, value chain must become more flexible, innovative, and efficient, so it can bring to market new products in a timely fashion.
Fig.: Supply chain of medicinal plants (Marshal, E., 2011)