Dr Wayne Hancock kindly provided a comment about my last post (the report on the use of IP to raise income.) Wayne is a market development specialist who works for European Fair Trade organisations as well CG centres. He says:
“Its an interesting concept and is something that Fair Trade and other trade related development organisations have been doing in different way through trying to link small scale farmers to higher value or larger scale markets (although maybe not with as much direct emphasis on IP as a marketing tool).
One confusion that can arise is differences within IP – is it a brand, a name, a regionally based distinction or is it indigenous rights to something distinct from a specific plant animal or location? Many of the products listed in the study don’t seem to have an IP component outside of branding and trade marking hence the emphasis on the IP business plan marketing approach. Even the Blackwood or Mpingo (Dalbergia melanoxum or related species) grows across the region so a distinctive product (as in the regional coffees of Ethiopia) is unlikely to be applicable.
Shea butter is an excellent product and there is at least one group undertaking similar work with that, and the Phytotrade Africa people based in the UK do similar things with several products from Aloes to the Sausage tree (Kiglia spp.) for pharmaceauticals and cosmetics. I have put forward the idea of a regional approach to marketing of tree nuts from southern Africa including macadamia and cashew with a distinctive brand presence to bring more value back to small farmers. However, finding funding and developing the supply and value chains into a substantial market takes time and resources.
The fact that Mozambique used to be a significant cashew producer does not make much difference to consumers who can get quality cashews from a range of locations. Considerable input is needed to bring Mozambiqan cashews up to the world standard again, starting with better genetic material and production through to processing and a marketing strategy; an IP marketing approach is an important part of that, not the complete answer. An integrated approach is needed that supports the products into the market place and makes production, utilisation and conservation viable by providing incentives such as income alternatives to small farmers/land users/collectors is required.