The Governance of Indigenous Natural Products in Namibia: A Policy Network Analysis

Publication Year:

At the end of the 20th century, optimism existed that non-timber forest products (NTFPs) can form an integral part in conservation and development strategies. However, there is limited knowledge on how the different stakeholders could relate to the state or to each other in promoting commercialization of NTFPs. Applying the policy network as an analytical framework, we investigated the structural patterns of actor relations in the governance structure of indigenous natural products (INPs) in Namibia, to understand the implications of such relations on INP policy process. The findings indicate that the INP policy network in Namibia is multi-dimensional, consisting of the Indigenous Plant Task Team (IPTT)—the key governance structure for resource mobilization and information sharing; and functional relations which serve specific roles in the INP value chain. The existing relations have facilitated policy development particularly for heavily regulated species, such as devil’s claw; but for other species, only incremental changes are observed in terms of small-scale processing facilities for value addition and exclusive purchase agreements for sustainable sourcing of INPs. Participation of primary producers, private actors and quality standardization bodies is limited in INPs governance structures, which narrow the scope of information sharing. Consequently, despite that the IPTT has fostered publicly funded explorative pilot projects, ranging from production to marketing of INPs, there are no clear guidelines how these projects results can be transferred to private entities for possible commercialization. Further collaboration and information sharing is needed to guide public sector relations with the private entities and cooperatives. Keywords: Indigenous natural products, Policy network, Non-timber forest product, Actor relations, Governance structure, Sustainable commercialization.

Publication Title:

Environmental Management

Item Type:
Journal Article