Building on success – adding value to biodiversity and communities
ABioSA project launches second phase with Swiss funding and German implementation
The pioneering ABioSA project, based on sustainable use of biodiversity and benefits for communities, has launched a new phase with a sensory experience of organic food, drinks and personal care products produced by small biotrade businesses.
The 31 May 2022 launch of ABioSA phase II closely follows the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) on 22 May, and echoes its vision to ‘building a shared future for all life’.
‘Biodiversity remains the answer to many sustainable development challenges,’ said German Ambassador H.E. Mr Andreas Peschke at the launch at the Pretoria home of Swiss Ambassador H.E. Dr. Nicolas Brühl. ‘From nature-based solutions to climate, health, food and water challenges, and the need to develop sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build a better future.’
ABioSA takes the link between biodiversity and development seriously, and supports biotrade entrepreneurs as they build robust small businesses which protect biodiversity, contribute to communities and generate high-value exports to local and international markets, based on indigenous plant ingredients. In his opening speech, Mr Brühl used Setsong Tea Crafters as an example of project support for small businesses. Setsong makes a nutritional tea based on BaPedi traditional knowledge in Limpopo province and was recently announced as the social enterprise in Food Lover’s Market supplier network enterprise.
The new phase of ABioSA runs to December 2024 and builds on Phase I from February 2018 to October 2021. The project is funded by State Secretariate for Economic Affairs (SECO) of Switzerland and implemented by GIZ in partnership with the Department for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE).
‘The ABioSA project is a good example of our partnerships, and it supports the achievement of key government targets including job creation, empowerment of women and rural development, said Dr Khorommbi Matibe, DFFE Chief Director: Biodiversity Economy and Sustainable Use. ‘The project also complemented government initiatives across the whole biotrade value chain. The DFFE welcomes the technical and financial support from development cooperation through projects like ABioSA, BioInnovation Africa (BIA), the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO), UNIDO GQSP and the latest addition of the Swiss South African Intellectual Property Programme (SSAIPP), as working with development partners aligns with and supports the SA government’s wider economic, social and development objectives.’
Guests at the ABioSA launch were treated to products developed by ABioSA beneficiaries, including indigenous herbal teas produced from Resurrection Bush and Lemon Bush by Parceval in the Western Cape, and Setsong’s iced orange-infused Black Bush Tea.
The light African-themed lunch featured roasted Chilli Garlic Morula Hot Sauce made by Maungo Craft in Botswana, and guest were able to view an exhibition of photographs of African indigenous plants. All of the hand sanitiser at the event was produced by the biotrade company Botanica Natural Products. Gifts given to guests included personal care products made by ABioSA beneficiary SMMEs from indigenous southern African plant ingredients.
The second phase of ABioSA will continue to support the development of a resilient gender-responsive ABS-compliant southern African biotrade sector. Industry groups and business support organisations will be helped to implement the sector development plans developed in phase I for target species including Marula, Baobab, Buchu, Aloe ferox, Honeybush and a cluster of essential oils.
DFFE’s Mr Matibe said the department would like to see the South African export economy more represented by sustainable use of indigenous biodiversity. ‘One of our key export markets is Europe for these ingredients and products produced from inclusive biotrade value chains with partnerships like SECO and GIZ supporting access to these markets,’ he said.