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Supporting PhytoTrade Africa (PTA), which plays a major role in promoting the management of environmental sustainability, the development of markets and inclusive supply chains for natural products and, finally, in fostering the development of rural communities.

From 2012 to 2015, FFEM, AFD and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) supported this project, which aimed to contribute to the economic and social development of rural communities and preserve ecosystems by marketing natural products.
The project is being implemented in 8 Southern African countries and focuses on structuring a dozen or so natural product sectors. Community-based natural resources management practices have developed in this region, i.e. the management of resources from communal land delegated to communities by the State. 
The practices of the sustainable harvesting and utilization of uncultivated plants and the sale of both processed and non-processed natural products are today the subject of international debates and agreements (in particular the Agreement on Benefit-Sharing of the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity) and national legislation is gradually being established.
Sustainable natural resources management by communities provides an additional source of income for marginalized communities, and mainly for women. It offers development opportunities for small processing companies and curbs deforestation by giving economic value to non-timber forest products.


The project is implemented by PhytoTrade Africa (PTA), a non-profit association, including a wide range of stakeholders from Southern African countries, representing the upstream and downstream of the sectors supported: community-based collection and processing organizations, NGOs, SMEs, exporters. The final beneficiaries are rural communities in Southern African countries.

Five components are planned:

  • Diversify and guarantee high-quality supplies and ensure their reliability
  • Optimize and protect natural resources and the related ecosystems 
  • Rehabilitate the Mafura oil industry, decimated by the war, in Mozambique
  • Support the development of local, regional and international products and markets
  • Facilitate the financing of SMEs operating in the processing and marketing of natural products.

In the long term, the project contributes to the economic and social development of poor rural communities in Southern Africa and to the preservation of ecosystems, by marketing natural products, in accordance with the principles of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing (ABS). It ensures a sustainable, equitable, profitable and replicable development of four focal sectors (Devil’s Claw, Marula, Baobab and Mafura) and the development of markets for all natural products. 

  • Total annual incomes in rural communities have increased and between 2012 and 2014 rose from USD 0.9m to USD 1.2m. This income is generated by women and used to improve their living conditions. 
  • The project leads the recipients to organize themselves into groups of formal suppliers, which results in an increase in their bargaining power and a reduction in their travel time and the related costs.
  • Annual sales of natural products have increased and between 2012 and 2014 rose from USD 2.3m to USD 5.7m. 
  • It is difficult to evaluate the environmental changes due to the short duration of the project and the limited number of biodiversity indicators. In the long term, the project results in positive environmental impacts.
Project start date
Project end date
Project grant date
3 ans
Duration of funding
Financing Tool
3 100 000 EUR
Amount of the program
900 000
Amount of FFEM funding
In progress
PhytoTrade Africa (PTA)  
Agence Française de Développement
Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition
Institution responsible

Chargée de projets – Constance Corbier - Barthaux
Tél : +33 (0)1 53 44 34 83