Bridging the Gap

Bringing novel Vietnamese medicinal plant products to the international market
2007 SEED Award Winner Biodiversity Viet Nam

The northern mountain region of Sa Pa, one of the poorest regions in Vietnam, is at the same time rich in biodiversity and an acknowledged national centre of expertise in the use of traditional medicinal plants. However, over-exploitation of these medicinal species and the forests they grow in currently endangers both the medicinal species and the integrity of their ecosystems as a whole. Local, traditional knowledge, combined with scientific testing have been used to identify the bioactive properties of some key plant species and create marketable products based on essential oils.

Bridging the Gap generates income for ethnic minority communities by developing an equitable and participatory business chain to market domestically and internationally the high-value plant-products derived from local, sustainable cultivation of traditional medicinal plants . The partnership’s comprehensive and participatory approach contributes both to biodiversity conservation and to improving the livelihoods of the ethnic minority groups which form a large part of the local population.

Main activities:

  • developing high value products from traditional medicinal plant species
  • using scientific analyses of bioactive properties to corroborate traditional knowledge
  • protecting the intellectual property rights of the ethnic minority groups
  • building local capacity.

Eco-Inclusive Impacts

Bridging the Gap generates income for ethnic minority communities by developing a business chain to internationally market the high-value plant-products derived from local, sustainable cultivation of traditional medicinal plants.
  • Undertaking market feasibility studies to assess market potentials and the possibilities of fair trade certification for high-quality products.
  • Building capacity of the local communities and partners to develop a strong “social enterprise”.
  • Protecting intellectual property rights of the ethnic minority groups.
  • Using scientific analyses of bioactive properties to corroborate traditional knowledge; aiming for national, legal registration and certification. 

 

 

 

  • Identifying traditional medicinal plant species and derived products with a strong potential for take-up by national and international high-value markets. 
  • Cultivating wild species in order to scale up production to match market demand while avoiding over-exploitation.

Partners

This enterprise is supported through its partnerships with various stakeholders, ranging from national and international organisations, investors, research institutes, suppliers, governmental bodies, NGOs, other social and environmental enterprises and more.

Sa Pa Essentials SPE, Vietnam (Local business)

Sa Pa Indigenous Medicinal Plants Association SIMPA, Vietnam (Local Cooperative)

Forest Herbs Research Ltd FHR, New Zealand (International business)

Centre for Community Empowerment CECEM, Vietnam (NGO)

Forest Herbs Reseach LTD, New Zealand (International business)

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