Reaping the fruits of sustainability
Public-private partnerships for the development and marketing of regional natural products
Protecting natural ecosystems goes hand in hand with the reduction of poverty. There is a vast potential in the Lake Tana region to develop alternative sources of income for the local communities through the development, production and marketing of selected sustainable natural products. This will improve the local population's standard of living, without putting pressure on the ecosystem, thus reducing their dependence on the environment.
To promote sustainable use of natural resources and regional development, the project aims to support the processing and marketing of natural products around Lake Tana. This will tap into existing potential in the region for desirable products such as coffee, honey, dried fruit, fruit jam, spices, medicinal plants, and drinks. NABU and the Michael Succow Foundation have teamed up with the company “Ecological Products of Ethiopia” to provide organisational support to establish two micro-enterprises. One of which will be located in the forest community on the Zege Peninsula, the other in an agricultural area. To strengthen regional economic systems, these products will mainly target Ethiopian regional and national markets. The project will assist in the development of a business plan, in particular with marketing strategies, quality control systems and integrated financial and management systems. A special “Lake Tana Biosphere Reserve” logo have been developed, which will provide added value to the products, certifying their origin and sustainable production methods.
The main beneficiaries will be farmers becoming micro-entrepreneurs, with particular emphasis on socially disadvantaged groups. Some of these groups are currently lacking the knowledge and resources necessary to compete on the national market to gain a higher guaranteed income. The project will tackle this issue through facilitating knowledge transfer and training for the local population on topics including food, cosmetic and herbal medicine products, the establishment of processing and packaging workshops, and the management of a tree nursery.