ABS compliant Biotrade in South(ern) Africa (ABioSA)

General Information

Project phase

The ABioSA project phase one ran over the period from February 2018 – October 2021.

Phase two will run over the period from November 2021 – December 2024.


In phase one the ABioSA project worked with 13 biotrade value chains and plant species in southern Africa. The value chains and species were selected based on criteria including traditional knowledge, ecological sustainability, market demand, potential for value-adding and job creation, and opportunities for participation of small and medium enterprises (SME) and indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs).

Sector Development plans were developed during this time for the following value chains and plant species; marula, buchu, baobab, honeybush, aloe ferox and a cluster of essential oils being Lippia javanica, cape chamomile and helichrysum.

These 6 value chains and plant species and implementation of the sector development plans will be the focus of the second phase.


Phase II focus value chains and plant species

Baobab (Adansonia digitata)

Marula (Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra)

Aloe (Aloe ferox)

Buchu (Agathosma spp.)

Honeybush (Cyclopia)

Imphepho (Helichrysum spp.)

Umsuzwane (Lippia javanica)

Cape chamomile (Eriocephalus spp.)


Additional value chains and plant species supported during phase I

Rose geranium (Pelargonium var Rose)

Kalahari melon (Citrullus lanatus)

Mafura (Trichilia emetica)

Sour plum (Ximenia americana & X. caffra

Wild ginger/African ginger (Siphonochilus aethiopicus)


The ABioSA project aims to support the development of a resilient gender-responsive ABS-compliant southern African biotrade sector, through a systemic competitiveness approach to increase market access for value-added natural ingredients and products.

Geographical scope

Southern Africa – currently including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Eswatini.

Target groups

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), business support organisations and indigenous people and local communities (IPLCs), government and business support/meso-level organisations.


ABioSA is collaborating with South Africa’s Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) and other regional governments. The ABioSA team is part of the Centre for Cooperation with the Private Sector (CCPS), based in the GIZ country office in South Africa, which hosts the four regional/global programmes that support sustainable development for employment, economic growth and natural resources. 


The ABioSA project is integrated in the governance structure of the ABS Initiative, with its own project steering committee consisting of SECO, GIZ and DFFE. The steering committee meets twice a year to review project progress.