Sustainable Sourcing of Phytochemicals as a Development Tool: The Case of Somaliland’s Frankincense Industry

Download Full Publication. Finding paths for ecologically and socially sustainable development in post-conflict regions of Africa poses a tremendous challenge for researchers and practitioners alike. In this study we examine the role the phytochemical sector can play in creating a supply chain for a niche market. We study the frankincense extract sourcing from a remote region of Somaliland and how a diaspora-linked market mechanism for the tree resin can be sustained. Using structured qualitative research methods involving interviews with harvesters and dealers as well as policy-makers, we conclude that trade would not be hampered by environmental conservation. The harvesters would benefit from more vigilance of the trade mechanism with effective social and environmental policy as Somaliland’s economy develops. Furthermore, plant products have important renewable characteristics that deserve attention in development planning in such highly impoverished areas. Minimal infrastructure is needed for developing such an economic base and such a sector can very quickly help to bring in capital for other sectors of the economy to develop while creating incentives for environmental conservation.

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