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Experiences with aloe domestication and exploitation, Baringo County, Kenya

Mulindo Chengole Josephat, Welimo Martin, Kamau Geoffrey, Ng'ang'a Teresiah, Triomphe Bernard. 2014. Experiences with aloe domestication and exploitation, Baringo County, Kenya. In : Proceedings of the International Workshop on Agricultural Innovation Systems in Africa (AISA), 29-31 May 2013, Nairobi, Kenya. Triomphe Bernard (ed.), Waters-Bayer Ann (ed.), Klerkx Laurens (ed.), Cullen Beth (ed.), Kamau Geoffrey (ed.), Le Borgne Ewen (ed.). Montpellier : CIRAD, pp. 71-74. International Workshop on Agricultural Innovation Systems in Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, 29 May 2013/31 May 2013.

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Abstract : This paper relates the findings of a participatory assessment of innovation processes surrounding the domestication and exploitation of Aloe genus in semiarid Kenya. The research was conducted under the EU-funded JOint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture (JOLISSA) project. The assessment approach consisted mostly of conducting individual or group semistructured interviews with key stakeholders related to aloe. The objective was to understand the dynamics of aloe domestication and exploitation and the interactions between the stakeholders involved. Stakeholders included the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Office of the President, Koriema-Kimalel-Sabor (KOKISA) communities, an community-owned Aloe processing unit, Aloe management community groups, a private sector aloe trader and exporter, independent aloe sap growers, processors and traders. The innovation process developed in two parallel threads, with little interaction among them. On one hand, an informal thread developed which was headed by Aloe sap traders who induced and developed a non-official supply chain to collect and process sap harvested from wild aloe for a mostly non-regulated export market. In so doing, they developed a number of innovations (such as sap purity tests) and also trained farmers on different aspects of harvesting and processing aloe sap. They also came up with barter schemes to resolve the problem of low capital available to buy sap. This informal value chain was however deemed illegal, shunned by public institutions. On the other hand, an initial presidential ban on wild aloe harvesting triggered the interest of the scientific community. Aloe domestication and exploitation received donor support with the intention to develop the various components of a certified sustainable harvesting and marketing aloe value chain. This included establishing a public-private partnership (PPP) to build and operate a factory for processing aloe sap and the establishment of Aloe Management Units (AMUs) in different communities to supply aloe sap to the factory from established aloe plantations rather than from the wild. Difficulties with access to the export market and pricing resulted in the near-collapse of the certified value chain, as the community members drifted towards the informal value chain and a search for alternative outlets in the form of aloe-based cosmetics such as soap, lotions and other herbal preparations. Several lessons and recommendations were learnt from this assessment including the need to build on pre-existing innovation dynamics (such as the non-official aloe supply chain) rather than trying to replace or ignore them. This case also illustrates the need to build the capacities necessary for effective management of a PPP and access to complex export markets. It furthermore shows that, even if a public policy, such as the presidential ban on Aloe, is flawed or incomplete, it can still trigger valuable innovation. (Résumé d'auteur)

Classification Agris : F01 - Crop husbandry
E14 - Development economics and policies
E16 - Production economics
E21 - Agro-industry
E70 - Trade, marketing and distribution

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Mulindo Chengole Josephat, KARI (KEN)
  • Welimo Martin, KARI (KEN)
  • Kamau Geoffrey, KARI (KEN)
  • Ng'ang'a Teresiah, KARI (KEN)
  • Triomphe Bernard, CIRAD-ES-UMR INNOVATION (FRA)

Source : Cirad - Agritrop (https://agritrop.cirad.fr/574776/)

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