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Medicinal plant commercialization in Benin: An analysis of profit distribution equity across supply chain actors and its effect on the sustainable use of harvested species

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This paper assesses the effects of the marketing of seven commonly-used medicinal plants on their sustainable use. Data were collected from a sample of 100 marketing agents by direct interviews and ANOVA (analysis of variance) was used to test profit margin distribution across actors involved in the marketing of medicinal plants. Results show that collectors have the lowest margins while retailers have the highest. Wholesalers have average margins from 1.37 to 20.69 times higher than collectors' per gram of species parts sold on urban markets. Collectors are farmers who harvest plant parts and sell them to compensate for decreasing agricultural income. Low margins and propensity to increase income lead to more harvesting, pressure and consequent damage to harvested species. Diversification of income sources and access to alternative cash resources would reduce pressure on harvested species. Complementary studies are needed on medicinal plants' supply-chain to minimize pressure on resources for enhanced biodiversity.
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Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 2(11), pp. 331-340, November, 2008
Available online at http://www.academicjournals.org/JMPR
ISSN 1996-0875© 2008 Academic Journals
Full Length Research Paper
Medicinal plant commercialization in Benin: An
analysis of profit distribution equity across supply
chain actors and its effect on the sustainable use of
harvested species
F. G. Vodouhê
1
*, O. Coulibaly
2
,
A. E. Assogbadjo
1
and B. Sinsin
1
1
Laboratoire d’Ecologie Appliquée, Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques, Université d’Abomey-Calavi; 01 B. P.
526 Cotonou, Benin.
2
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, 08 B. P. 0932 Tri Postal, Cotonou, Benin.
Accepted 25 October 2008
This paper assesses the effects of the marketing of seven commonly-used medicinal plants on
their sustainable use. Data were collected from a sample of 100 marketing agents by direct
interviews and ANOVA (analysis of variance) was used to test profit margin distribution across
actors involved in the marketing of medicinal plants. Results show that collectors have the lowest
margins while retailers have the highest. Wholesalers have average margins from 1.37 to 20.69
times higher than collectors’ per gram of species parts sold on urban markets. Collectors are
farmers who harvest plant parts and sell them to compensate for decreasing agricultural income.
Low margins and propensity to increase income lead to more harvesting, pressure and consequent
damage to harvested species. Diversification of income sources and access to alternative cash
resources would reduce pressure on harvested species. Complementary studies are needed on
medicinal plants’ supply-chain to minimize pressure on resources for enhanced biodiversity.
Key words: Medicinal plants, market integration, sustainability, Benin.
INTRODUCTION
A high proportion (70 to 80%) of the world population
uses medicinal plants or consults traditional practitioners
for their primary healthcare (Cunningham, 1993; Olsen,
2005; Pei, 2001). The increasing use of these medicinal
species has significant socio-economic importance in
household and community economics in Africa (Hamilton,
2004). It allows millions of people to generate incomes
through medicinal plant organ collection and marketing
(Cunningham, 1996; Hamilton, 2004). It procures
substantial incomes for households and communities
while preserving the natural resources (Nepstad and
Schwartzman, 1992; Panayotou and Ashton, 1992;
Plotkin and Famolare, 1992; Balick and Mendelsohn,
1992; Arnold and Perez, 2001). Thus Non-Timber Forest
*Corresponding author. E-mail: vodouhefifanou@yahoo.fr or
vodouhefifanou@gmail.com. Phone: (+229) 95 06 75 64.
Products (NTFPs) encourage the conservation of biodi-
versity and contribute to rural development on a sustain-
able basis (Falconer, 1996, De Jong et al., 2000).
But for numerous authors, the marketing of natural
resources such as NTFPs would negatively affect the
conservation of biodiversity (Painter and Durham, 1995)
and would increase the poverty of the target populations
(Marshall et al., 2003). After two decades of debate,
scholars still disagree on the effects of market develop-
ment of natural resources on their conservation status
(Godoy et al., 1995).
Earlier, studies have focused on documenting defores-
tation rather than providing information on supply-chains,
which can shed light on how markets may hurt or help
conservation (Godoy et al., 1995). A study conducted on
Nepalese NTFPs by Maraseni et al. (2006) and related to
profit distribution across a supply chain had permitted to
know that there is inequity in benefit or value added distri-
332 J. Med. Plant. Res.
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Figure 1. Study locations in Southern Benin
tion and this situation was exacerbated by a low level of
understanding of marketing among collectors. But the
study doesn’t permit to know strategies used by collect-
ors to improve their margin and their effect on harvested
species.
In the case of Benin, although medicinal plants are mar-
keted for a long time, no study has assessed the impact
of medicinal plant organ sales on their sustainable uses.
The objectives of this paper are
i.) to compare the profit margins and their allocation to
marketing actors like collectors, wholesalers and traders.
ii.) to analyse strategies used by each actor to make mar-
keting profitable and the assessment of impact of these
strategies on sustainable use of harvested species.
Study area
The survey covers the Southern and Central regions of
Benin, across three provinces, three main rural markets
(Bohicon, Covè and Sèhouè) and two major urban
markets (Abomey-Calavi and Cotonou, the capital city)
(Figure 1). These regions have the highest density of
population in the country with little access to natural re-
sources and almost little medicinal plant available. Mar-
kets in these regions are the sole source of supply in me-
dicinal plants commercialization. Climate in southern
Benin is sub-equatorial with two rainy seasons and two
dry seasons. The mean annual rainfall is 1200 mm with
annual temperatures ranging from 26 to 31°C. Vegetation
is extensively degraded with a predo-minance of fallow
and farm (Ganglo, 1999). The region still maintains a
number of forest relics, of which the most important are
Lama (16 250 ha) and Niaouli (11 000 ha) forests.
Communities from these forest areas harvest useful
species for food, primary healthcare and incomes. This
zone is covered also by the forest of Lokoli which has
recently attracted interest as a habitat for wild-life species
like Cercopithecus erythrogaster subsp. Erythro gaster
(Red-bellied Monkey). The forest is also a source of
many medicinal species used by local commu-nities for
their primary healthcare and incomes. Popula-tion in the
study area is estimated at 1.677.729 for 2 provinces
(Atlantique and Littoral) and 599 954 for Zou province
(INSAE, 2004a, b and c). Subsistence farming and petty
trade are the main activities in the area (Figure 1).
Data collection methods
Sampling
This study carries out a marketing survey to identify diffe-
rent medicinal plant species and the types of plant organs
sold in different markets in the study area. A sample of
five markets was chosen for data collection based on
their importance in medicinal plant organ sales and mar-
ket accessibility. Key informant surveys were held with
actors involved in sales in the different markets. Species
commonly sold in the market were ranked and the seven
most frequently sold were selected for detailed study.
Species in the sample include Bridelia ferruginea
(Benth.), Rauvolfia vomitoria (Afzel.), Ceasalpinia bonduc
(Linn.) Roxb., Mondia whytei (Hook. F.) Skeels, Sarcoce-
phalus latifolius (Smith) Bruce, Nauclea xantho-xylon A.
(Chev.) Aubrev. and Zanthoxylum zanthoxy-loides (Lam.)
Zepen. and Timber.
The detailed surveys were carried out between July and
December 2005. A sample size of 70 sellers, of which
97% were women, was selected across markets. The
main criteria for sampling are the availability of species in
the sellers’ stall and the respondent willingness to be
interviewed. This sample consisted of key actors in the
supply chain: wholesalers (9%), stationary retailers or
retailers based in a given market (60%) and itinerant
retailers who move across markets (31%). Thirty medi-
cinal plant organ collectors were also chosen. The criteria
for selection of sellers and collectors were: frequency in
markets and willingness to participate in interviews.
Surveys
Data were collected through both informal and structured
Vodouhê et al. 333
interviews (with formal questionnaires). The non-struc-
tured interviews (called key informant interviews) were
used for all actors along the supply-chain of the plants to
the markets. The structured interviews were especially
used to collect data from respondents. Data were col-
lected on plant parts commonly used and related prices,
factors that affect prices, and price trends from collectors
to retailers. Data were also taken from collectors on the
type of vegetation in which they collect the plants con-
cerned.
For drawing relationships between plant parts’ quantity
commercialized and prices, sample “bunches” (bunch is a
bundle of roots or bark of medicinal plants for sale) of
medicinal plant parts have been collected from each
actor interviewed. These bunches were weighed in the
laboratory. In effect, it’s in “bunches’’ making that supply-
chain actors realize all of their strategies.
Data analysis
The profit margins of traders and wholesalers in the
supply-chain were assessed using partial budgeting:
GM
1
= Selling Price – Buying Price – Transportation cost (1)
GM
1
: the actor's (traders and wholesalers) unit gross
margin of organ parts
The profit margin (GM
2
) of collectors was estimated as:
GM
2
= Selling Price – Collection costs (2)
Collectors harvest medicinal plant parts directly in vege-
tation and did not pay any royalties. The collection costs
cover equipment and labour cost. The wage rates for
farm activities were taken as the labour opportunity cost.
In considering difference between men and women in
farm wages, separate wage rates were applied. The
formula is:
Collection cost = (Total man days involved*Wage rate + cost of
equipment) / Total quantity sold (3)
Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to compare
gains through gross margins between actors across mar-
kets. Variable distribution met normality conditions and
no data transformation was necessary. For the groups of
actors for which the marketing gross margins exhibited a
significant difference, the Student-Newman-Keuls test
was performed to identify the actors who had the biggest
unit raw margins.
RESULTS
Marketing channels and stakeholders in medicinal
plant supply chain
Medicinal plant parts commonly sold vary according to
334 J. Med. Plant. Res.

 

 
  
   
   


Figure 2. Marketing channels and actors.
species: roots (B. ferruginea, R. vomitoria, C. bonduc, M.
whytei, S. latifolius, Z. zanthoxyloides), bark (B. ferrugi-
nea and N. xanthoxylon) and seeds (C. bonduc). Two
main marketing channels were identified from thesurvey
results (Figure 2):
The first supply channel is short. Plant parts are col-
lected in their natural habitats and brought to the market
for sale. This marketing channel is rather short and com-
mon to most of the species. The sites where plant parts
are collected are not far from the markets. Collectors
bring products to the markets and sell them directly to
retailers. This reduces transport costs.
The second market channel is common to several rural
and urban markets in Southern Benin (Bohicon, Covè,
Sèhouè, Abomey-Calavi and Cotonou). This market
channel sells basically roots of C. bonduc and R. vom-
itoria and seeds of C. bonduc. The most important market
for these products is Bohicon, a major market for sellers
from Covè, Abomey-Calavi and wholesalers from Coto-
nou, the capital city and the most important market of the
country. Sèhouè, a rural market, is closer to a busy inter-
national road linking Benin to neighbouring countries, and
it is important for supplying plant organs of C. bonduc to
retailers and wholesalers of Abomey-Calavi and Cotonou.
Margins in the medicinal plant parts supply-chain
Margins per agent on rural markets
In Table 1 we compare the unit gross margins for diffe-
rent agents involved in the rural markets of Bohicon,
Covè and Sèhouè. The results show that profit margins
vary significantly according to agent (Table 1).
Retailers have the highest gross margins. Their gross
margin per unit of plant organ is respectively 7 to 17
times and 4 to 9 times higher for collectors for the roots
and bark respectively of B. ferruginea. The margin
increases from 10 to 20 times for the roots of R.
vomitoria, 7 to 13 times and 6 to 44 times respectively for
the roots and seeds of C. bonduc, 14 to 21 times for the
roots of M. whytei, 2 to 7 times for the roots of S.
latifolius, 2 to 6 times for the bark of N. xanthoxylon and 2
or 8 times for the roots of Z. zanthoxyloides.
Margins per agent in major urban markets (Abomey-
Calavi and Cotonou)
Table 2 compares gross margins of different agents
along the medicinal plants supply-chain in major urban
markets (Abomey-Calavi and Cotonou). The results show
that gross margins vary significantly between the three
supply-chain agents (Table 2).
The results of the Student-Newman-Keuls test show
that retailers have the highest gross margins and that col-
lectors have the lowest gross margins. The wholesalers
have gross margins between the other two agents.
These results show that gross margins distribution is un-
even across actors in the rural (Bohicon, Covè, Sèhouè)
and urban (Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou) markets.
Strategies used by actors to make marketing
profitable
In the study area, medicinal plant commercialisation
actors used mainly two strategies to improve their bene-
fits. The first strategy results from bunches making. In
effect, the measurement units for medicinal plant organs
are “bunch” for roots and barks, and "tohoungolo" for
seeds of C. Bonduc (Figure 3). Tohounglo is a bowl used
as a traditional measuring unit for sales of staple grains in
Benin. One measure of Tohounglo is 120 or 160 seeds of
C. bonduc. Concerning “bunches”, in all markets covered
by the study, the weight of a “bunch” of plant organs
varies significantly according to the type of actors (col-
lector, wholesaler or retailer) (Table 3, Figure 3).
The application of the Student-Newman-Keuls test
shows that collectors are chain actors who sell the hea-
vier parts as “bunch” while retailers sell the lightest
“bunch”. Moreover, the comparison of bunches weight
between rural and urban markets with ANOVA and appli-
cation of Student-Newman-Keuls test permits to know
that actors on rural markets sold the most heavier
bunches (Table 4).
The same situation was observed concerning the price
setting of medicinal plant parts (Table 5). The price of
medcinal plant parts is set by supply and demand accord-
Vodouhê et al. 335
Table 1. Variation margins across actors on rural markets (Bohicon, Covè and Sèhouè).
Plant part trade Commercialization
actors
Margins per actors (FCFA/g) F Df Probabilities
Bohicon
Covè Sèhoué
Root of B. Ferruginea
Collectors 0.475 0.682 0.411
63.25
1 0.001
Retailers 6.046 4.705 7.031
Bark of B. Ferruginea
Collectors 0.911 0.536 1.472
24.34
1 0.007
Retailers 8.334 4.541 6.864
Root of R. Vomitoria
Collectors 0.445 0.6075 0.513
18.26
1 0.012
Retailers 8.998 6.240 6.441
Root of C. bonduc
Collectors 1.850 1.575 0.800 86.63 1 0.000
Retailers 13.741 10.790 10.404
Seeds of C. Bonduc
Collectors 0.22 0.215 0.897 34.85 1 0.004
Retailers 7.53 9.350 5.345
Root of M. whytei
Collectors 0.652 0.730 0.672
12.41
1 0.024
Retailers 13.685 10.403 11.576
Root of S. latifolius
Collectors 0.473 1.36 1.620 31.32 1 0.005
Retailers 3.092 3.146 3.060
Bark of N. xanthoxylon
Collectors 0.647 0.654 2.647 13.80 1 0.020
Retailers 3.939 3.908 5.460
Root of Z.
zanthoxyloides
Collectors 1.488 0.550 2.480 21.93 1 0.008
Retailers 3.992 4.590 5.027
ing to seasons. Collectors who are mainly farmers are not
active during the rainy season and plant organs supply
decreases on markets because of agricultural activities.
During rainy season, medicinal plant parts are scarce in
the markets and therefore are more expensive because
of lower supply. Some collectors used to do their har-
vesting activities during this period in order to improve
their margin.
Medicinal plant harvesting area
The survey’s results show that medicinal plant organs,
especially roots, barks and seeds of B. ferruginea, R.
vomitoria, C. bonduc, M. whytei, S. latifolius, N. xantho-
xylon and Z. zanthoxyloides, used for traditional health-
care and other domestic purposes, are harvested in cur-
rent vegetation systems (fallows, forests), and in family
gardens. Figure 4 presents the systems commonly used
for harvesting of medicinal plant organs (Figure 4).
Based on the results reported in Figure 4, the majority of
medicinal plants traded in markets are harvested in
natural vegetation (forests and fallows). Only R. vomitoria
and C. bonduc are from the cultivated lands and 70% of
C. bonduc organs sold by traditional practitioners are
harvested in domestic gardens.
DISCUSSION
Profitability per agent of the supply chain and
strategies used by actors to make marketing
profitable
The results of statistical analysis show that gross margins
are not fairly distributed across supply-chain agents. The
primary collectors have the lowest gross margins among
all actors involved in the supply-chain of medicinal plant
organs. Their gross margins are 2 to 20 times lower than
retailers’ in rural markets. According to Banana (1998),
one of the reasons for the low margins of collectors is the
poor access to market information on the sources of
plants. Unlike retailers and wholesalers, collectors come
from different locations and do not have the opportunity
to assess and exchange information. Collectors are not
permanent actors living in or near the markets. They
come periodically to sell medicinal plant organs and also
to purchase food items for their households. They are not
organized in cooperatives, unlike wholesalers and re-
tailers, who reside near markets and share information
related to supply and demand, and fix the prices very
often.
Moreover, in the case study area, collection of different
parts of medicinal plant species does not represent the
main activity of collectors. They are farmers and collect
336 J. Med. Plant. Res.
Table 2. Variation of margins across major urban markets (Abomey-Calavi and Cotonou).
Plant part trade Commercialization
actors
Margins per actors (FCFA/g) F Df Probabilities
Abomey-Calavi Cotonou
Root of B. Ferruginea
Collectors 0.318 0.54 36.806 2 0.007
Wholesalers 0.912 0.912
Retailers 4.53 6.041
Bark of B. Ferruginea
Collectors 1.406 1.292 97.129 2 0.001
Wholesalers 7.045 7.045
Retailers 8.000 6.811
Root of R. Vomitoria
Collectors 0.502 0.422 1779.311 2 0.000
Wholesalers 2.357 2.357
Retailers 6.789 7.049
Root of C. bonduc
Collectors 3.720 4.792 120.350 2 0.001
Wholesalers 6.590 6.590
Retailers 14.030 15.391
Seeds of C. Bonduc
Collectors 0.230 0.43 42.507 2 0.006
Wholesalers 3.612 3.612
Retailers 3.557 4.626
Root of M. whytei
Collectors 2.164 0.784 54.236 2 0.004
Wholesalers 3.297 3.297
Retailers 7.547 7.205
Root of S. Latifolius
Collectors 0.332 1.300 36.188 2 0.007
Wholesalers 3.580 3.580
Retailers 5.453 6.600
Bark of N. xanthoxylon
Collectors 0.777 0.874 15.947 2 0.025
Wholesalers 3.300 3.300
Retailers 4.846 7.070
Root of Z. zanthoxyloides
Collectors 0.230 0.332 87.875 2 0.002
Wholesalers 4.990 4.990
Retailers 6.455 7.741
medicinal plants as a secondary activity to generate extra
agricultural incomes. The importance of this latter activity
explains the fact that plant parts are not found frequently
on the markets during the rainy season as in the dry sea-
son. The collector’s low margins could be also justified by
the fact that they are not spending their time on this
activity like detailers. The plant parts commercialisation is
for them an occasional activity.
To compensate for low margins, collectors may have to
speed up the harvesting of medicinal plants. This puts
alot of pressure on the harvested plant species. This
skewed distribution of gross margins to increase incomes
and the willingness of collectors are therefore a very
damaging combination for harvested species and conse-
quently for biodiversity. The results from this study are
supported by findings from Godoy and Bawa (1993) and
Maraseni et al. (2006), who observed that the incomes
resulting from the exploitation of the NTFPs are the main
reason for pressure on exploited species.
A similar situation is observed at wholesaler’s level:
they also have low gross margins compared with re-
tailers. The need for higher profit puts pressure on
species marketed. The market opportunities for medicinal
plant organs and associated margins can be a threat to
biodiversity if accompanying policies are not developed to
sustain the conservation of plants and species in high
demand. A number of appropriate actions could be taken
to increase incomes from medicinal plants while pro-
tecting the species. Access to information from markets
and choice of locations for supply and access to financial
resources through financial services could enhance other
sources of incomes and protect the environment.
Impact of harvested species on biodiversity
conservation
The bulk of the supply of medicinal plants sold is har-
vested from natural vegetations (fallows and forests). The
Vodouhê et al. 337
oots of
C
.
bonduc
oots of
R. vomitoria
Roots of
Z
.
z
anthoxyloide
s
Roots of
M
.
whytei
Bark
of
N
.
xant
hoxylon
oots of
S. latifoli
us
Bark
of
B
.
ferruginea
Toh
ounglo
Figure 3. Commercialization instruments.
Table 3. Weight of “bunch” of medicinal plant-organs sold.
Plant parts sold Mean weight
of bunches
sold by
collectors (g)
Mean weight of
bunches sold by
retailers (g)
Mean weight of
bunches sold
by wholesalers
(g)
df (degree of
freedom)
F P
Root of B. Ferruginea
241.59 104.32 129.98 2 6.37 0.02
Bark of B. Ferruginea
237.28 99.90 77.95 2 52.46 0.00
Root of R. vomitoria
167.14 55.31 51.05 2 44.45 0.00
Root of C. bonduc
102.21 45.80 26.80 2 7.58 0.01
Root of M. whytei
206.09 93.81 46.20 2 1.50 0.04
Root of S. Latifolius
373.28 142.98 102.62 2 23.84 0.00
Bark of N. xanthoxylon
409.99 112.17 90.60 2 12.78 0.00
Root of Z. zanthoxyloides
425.35 139.74 119.66 2 13.29 0.02
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
B . fe rru g in e a
R . v o m ito ria
C . b o n d u c
M . w h y te i
S . la tifo liu s
N .
x a n th o x y lo n
Z .
z a n th o x y lo id e s
Species
P e r c e n t a g e o f R e s p o n d e n ts
Forests Fallows Home gardens
Figure 4. Vegetation systems for medicinal plant organs harvest.
This explains the significant difference observed between
the weights of bunches of medicinal plant organs and
their prices. The bunch of medicinal plant organs mar-
keted in rural markets is heavier and less expensive than
those marketed on the urban markets where demand is
higher. Natural vegetation plants are available in rural
areas so their access is easier for rural markets. Medici-
nal plant harvest in the study area is free and involves
only labour.
The risk of species extinction is high when we consider
the phenologic stages of plants harvested and organs
collected (roots, seeds and barks). Plants used are those
considered “mature” by collectors. Plants identified as
mature are those which have fructified at least once (as
in the case of the exploitation of the roots of B. ferru-
ginea, R. vomitoria, C. bonduc, M. whytei, S. latifolius,
and Z. zanthoxyloides). The preference for mature spe-
cies is explained by the fact that at this development
stage plants produce more mature roots and these are
338 J. Med. Plant. Res.
Table 4. Comparison of weights of medicinal plant parts sold between rural and urban markets.
Weight
B.
ferruginea
(roots)
B.
ferruginea
(bark)
R.
vomitoria
(roots)
C.
bonduc
(roots)
M.
whytei
(roots)
S.
latifolius
(roots)
N.
xanthoxylon
(bark)
Z.
zanthoxyloides
(roots)
Mean weight of
bunches of
collectors on rural
markets (g)
(Sd)
476.41
(46.16)
314.33
(56.02)
174.82
(28.22)
159.86
(78.57)
201.02
(56.90)
688.42
(119.35)
266.04
(31.40)
500.84
(57.33)
Mean weight of
bunches of
collectors on urban
markets (g)
(Sd)
315.23
(43.62)
208.44
(53.44)
124.03
(11.21)
120.50
(38.30)
147.92
(39.80)
593.90
(166.70)
168.70
(32.72)
386.71
(110.15)
Mean weight of
bunches of retailers
on rural markets (g)
(Sd)
189.38
(43.62)
138.02
(53.44)
77.11
(11.21)
81.68
(38.30)
91.05
(39.80)
304.58
(166.70)
119.95
(32.72)
219.06
(110.15)
Mean weight of
bunches of retailers
on urban markets (g)
(Sd)
85.30
(14.14)
77.28
(12.20)
45.46
(3.97)
33.13
(3.29)
54.02
(7.40)
250.39
(6.36)
64.35
(2.05)
162.08
(48.98)
Roots of B. ferruginea (F = 26.60 ; P = 0.000 < 0.05), Bark of of B. ferruginea (F = 16.62 ; P = 0.003 < 0.05) Roots R. vomitoria (F = 26.12 ; P = 0.000
< 0.05), Roots of C. bonduc (F = 6.71 ; P = 0.032 < 0.05), Roots of M. whytei (F = 14.55 ; P = 0.005 < 0.05), Roots of S. latifolius (F = 27.48 ; P =
0.000 < 0.05), Bark of N. xanthoxylon (F = 17.26 ; P = 0.003 < 0.05) and Roots of Z. zanthoxyloides (F = 17.23 ; P = 0.002 < 0.05).
plants species increases the risk of extinction of the spe-
popular in markets. As shown by Cunningham (2001) and
Peters (1994), however, the reduction of reproductive
cies. The community demand and harvesting practices
have significant effects on plant populations and hence
biodiversity and availability of species in the long term.
To reduce this negative impact of medicinal plant sales
on biodiversity conservation, information is needed on the
“best bet” agroforestry systems, which may involve many
species. More studies are needed for better knowledge of
reproductive modes of species before integration in the
agroforestry system.
Conclusion
This study analyzes the sales margin distribution and
management practices of medicinal plant species B
.ferruginea, R. vomitoria, C. bonduc, M. whytei, S. lati-
folius, N. xanthoxylon and Z. zanthoxyloides). Higher
profit-seeking from medicinal plant organ sales com-
promises the sustainability of the overall biodiversity and
protection of natural plantations. The results show that
the gross margins distribution is skewed between diffe-
rent agents of the supply-chain. Collectors, who are key
actors, have the lowest gross margins compared with re-
tailers, who have the highest margins. Collectors seeking
higher profit collect more organs and therefore destroy
vegetation and species diversification.
A number of appropriate actions could be taken to
increase incomes from medicinal plants while protecting
the species. Access to information from markets and
choice of locations for supply and access to financial
resources through financial services could enhance other
sources of incomes and protect the environment.
Sensitization, knowledge and best bet practices for
medicinal plants management which can be used to
increase and sustain the environment are needed.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
We would like to extend gratitude to all of the commer-
cialization actors and interviewers involved in the study.
Thanks to reviewers for their comments on the manu-
script.
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