However, their scope became broader, with the IPTT becoming a member of Phytotrade Africa, which is an International Trade Association linking its members to the global market for natural products and pursuing new product development. The history of the development of INP governance bodies is reflected in the configuration of the overall INP governance network. As illustrated in Fig. In addition to these specific INP governance bodies, other institutional structures also play an important role in facilitating collective decision-making and coordination of pilot projects for the commercialization of INPs in Namibia.
In providing support to local communities, CRIAA-SADC has also served as an interim benevolent intermediary trader—sourcing INPs from user group associations and re-selling these products for export at cost recovery price. These arrangements mainly formed part of the pilot projects for the promotion of indigenous fruits. The membership list demonstrates that the different governance bodies for INPs in Namibia are in principle relatively open to different interest groups of society. However, in practice the membership is limited either due to a lack of resources or due to the absence of a formal representative body.
The public sector and civil society organizations are usually well represented, but the representation in the IPTT and DCWG forums of the private sector, community-based organizations CBOs and standardization bodies is minimal. Both the interviews and official proceedings indicate that the membership to both the IPTT and DCWG is mainly dominated by actors from the public sector and civil society. Nonetheless, several efforts have been made to include CBOs in these governance bodies, in order to obtain representation reflecting different commercialized species and different ecological regions.
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Such efforts were facing several difficulties. However, over time, only a few of these regional centers actively participated in the IPTT forums. The continuity in communication and exchange of information with eco-satellite centers was difficult to maintain due to regular staff turnover and changes in leadership at these centers. Another challenge concerned the financial means to enable staff of these satellite centers to travel from distant regions to attend IPTT forums.
Similar challenges of limited stakeholder participation in the governance process were experienced in the DCWG. Despite the original commitments to include multiple stakeholders du Plessis , the interviews and official proceedings indicate limited representation of primary producers, traders and exporters in the DCWG meetings.
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The experience of the IBPC governance body regarding participation of local stakeholders is different. Unlike other governance bodies, the IBPC has systematically invited traditional leaders, regional councils and CBOs to the consultative workshops they held prior to decision-making. Between and extensive regional consultative workshops were conducted in order to incorporate the views and ideas of local level stakeholders into the development of the Bill on Access to Genetic Resources and its Associated Traditional Knowledge.
However, the opinions of respondents on these consultative workshops vary. Some key informant remarked that these workshops have created wrong and unintended expectations among some traditional communities. Some traditional authorities have started to demand access fees from bio-prospecting researchers before they grant access to their communities for bioprospecting.
This illustrates the difficulties involved in establishing local agreements on bio-prospecting and benefit sharing and the intricacies of developing proper arrangements for product commercialization. On the one hand, access to resources for research and innovation needs to be encouraged, but on the other hand safeguards are also needed to prevent biopiracy and maximize benefit sharing with local communities. It is critical to know where to strike the balance, such that the Bill does not frustrate research and innovation or provide loopholes to exploit local communities.
The presence of the three major governance bodies is clearly visible in the overall structure of the INP governance network in the form of three key nodal points Fig. This overlap in membership results in different levels of reciprocal exchange of knowledge and feedback. The IPTT meetings explicitly serve as a formalized platform for reciprocal feedback and sharing of information.
Such exchange of information is less frequent in the case of the IBPC, resulting into a state which is described by some respondents as inactive or dysfunctional. A formalized reciprocal feedback between the IPTT and IBPC would also be instrumental for re-aligning the institutional framework for access to genetic resources and intellectual property rights issues, such as material transfer agreements, traditional knowledge protection, and farmers rights.
Several interviewees also expressed the view that the IPTT contributed significantly to the visibility of Namibia at global level, which has led to Namibia being nominated as the key negotiator of the Nagoya Protocol in Africa. The INP policy network does not only illustrate the structural relations in terms of membership to the various specialized governance bodies, but also the functional relations between these actors. In Fig. These clusters show the most frequently interacting organizations, which focus on specific functions, such as value addition, capacity building and development, and resource management.
Product quality involving product research and development, standardization and value addition;. Resource management and monitoring, including screening of useful botanical plants, propagation, cultivation, and domestication of indigenous species;. Institutional capacity building and development, which mainly involves training on harvesting techniques and good manufacturing practices for semi-processing procedures provided to harvesters and CBOs.
For instance, in order to stimulate the manufacturing of different marula products, attention focused on developing the extraction technology for pulp, juice, and flavor. Also, laboratory tests were conducted with funds from GIZ German Development Cooperation to analyze fatty acid profiles, microbial contaminants, and acid values of marula oils in order to develop food oils as a new product.
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Consumer trials were also conducted for different products. This organic certification scheme was later replicated in communal conservancies in the Otjozonjupa Region. This cluster focuses on the creation of innovative systems for INP production. In developing new production systems, specific attention was given to INP propagation and cultivation, including domestication of indigenous species.
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The activities include surveys and screening of useful botanical plants; breeding and cultivation trials; as well as seed collection and nursery establishment. The Kalahari melon trials were conducted in collaboration with the different agricultural research stations across the country in order to compare the influence of ecological variations on the performance of the melon.
The support organizations specifically work at local levels where they organize harvesters in PPOs and train them in various relevant skills such as leadership and organization management and basic business and marketing skills. The function of capacity building and development has largely been implemented by NGOs given the lack of capacity within government agencies.
The network structure illustrates that pilot projects of INP commercialization have mainly been carried out by multiple organizations, each focusing on a specific function as illustrated in Clusters A, B and C. The focus of the functions of each cluster is often related to specific policy objectives. For instance, in response to the MET policy on biodiversity conservation, enrichment planting of indigenous plants in the wild is encouraged as a means to reduce harvesting pressure in wild areas that are closer to human resettlement.
Similarly, the integration of INPs into agricultural farming systems is promoted as a way to implement the agricultural policy on poverty alleviation and income generation. The discussions in the sections above demonstrate that the policy network for INPs in Namibia consists of different dimensions including governance bodies, actor representation, and functions of different governance clusters. Such membership theoretically allows for balancing of power between the state and other stakeholders in decision-making.
However, the Namibian experience illustrates that despite their common objective of promoting INPs, IPTT members have diverging interests and expectations, which lead to a certain degree of power imbalance in terms of deciding which course of action to undertake for the promotion of INPs. With support from NGOs, institutional arrangements have been established through which access to indigenous products is organized.
These arrangements include trade cooperatives and exclusive purchase agreements that facilitate sustainable sourcing of INPs. For instance, the interviews with private small and medium enterprises SMEs in the cosmetic sector revealed that the IPTT does not meet their expectations. As upcoming business entities, SMEs expect the IPTT to disseminate information on standard specifications for different products, processing techniques and product formulations in order to stimulate value addition to natural products.
More specifically, Namibia has no entity with the capacity to filter some of the cosmetic oils that are exported by Namibian SMEs. The SMEs willing to add value oil filtering and refining have to export crude oil through South Africa, where the crude oil is filtered. In addition, there are other services that are beyond the capacity of an upcoming SME. For example, the SMEs require support in terms of training to primary producers in order to supply quality materials, marketing and promotion of natural products, and research and development. On the contrary, most of the information generated through the IPTT has been regarded as confidential information which can only be shared with an envisaged private holding company, structured to benefit primary producers.
The idea of such a company did not materialize due to various criticisms. Some stakeholders, especially private entities, perceived that the holding company would compete with existing individual private entities and that it would be the sole beneficiary of research and development and market research that the IPTT has produced or commissioned with public funds.
Other stakeholders, such as the public sector, did not support the establishment of a private holding company due to suspicions related to the proposed shareholding formula. These studies included the screening of botanical plants and identification of useful plants; breeding and cultivation of indigenous plants with known commercial values; development of extraction and processing technologies; consumer trials; and pilot organic certification.
Some of the organizations that carried out these activities e.
Thus the IPTT itself transformed into what has been referred to as an implementation and administrative body Albertyn , instead of a body that facilitates and coordinates activities. Also, the thrust on information sharing that was one of the key aims of IPTT establishment gradually diminished. In the opinions of some IPTT members, explorative studies that pioneered the different functions of the INP value chains have dominated the functions of the IPTT at the expense of tangible poverty alleviation activities.
The explorative studies have been described as being too ambitious, stretching the IPTT into too many functions with limited financial and human resources. The key stakeholder—the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry MAWF —also perceived that the outcomes generated by the dominance of explorative studies generated few tangible benefits to local communities that could contribute to poverty alleviation such as technical capacity empowerment, value addition and fair product prices.
The audit report indicates that enough data collection and explorative studies have been conducted and there is need to focus more on empowering local level primary producers and infrastructure development to enable value addition. This implies that the interests of professionals and experts in explorative studies dominated the focus of IPTT activities at the detriment of other objectives such as support to SMEs and trade cooperatives.
The multidimensional policy network for INPs in Namibia has greatly facilitated a learning process in respect to both policy formulation and implementation. This involves interactions between different stakeholders engaged in both policy development and pilot project implementation.