PhytoTrade Africa at a glance

  • Established in 2001
  • Non-profit membership-based trade association in Southern Africa
  • Nine member countries and approximately 60 members
  • Industry focus: Cosmetic, food & beverage, herbal supplements
  • Multi-skilled team of 15 consultants
  • Donor funded
  • Alleviate poverty through the creation of a robust and sustainable natural products industry while ensuring the conservation of indigenous biodiversity
  • Implementation and monitoring of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) processes across the value chain

PhytoTrade Africa was established in 2001 as the trade association of the natural products industry in Southern Africa. “Natural products” are products derived from plants indigenous to Southern Africa; they include foods, drinks, oils and ingredients used by the food and cosmetics industries.

We are a non-profit, membership-based organisation representing private sector businesses, development agencies, individuals and other interested parties in nine countries: Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Our purpose is to alleviate poverty and protect biodiversity in the region by developing an industry that is not only economically successful but also ethical and sustainable.

Who we are

We represent producers in: Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. PhytoTrade helps African rural producers develop and market their natural products for export. We are a non-profit trade association that promotes sustainable production and fair trade, contributing to the economic development of southern African countries. Natural products are grown in the wild by rural producers, and include: beverages, cosmetic oils, health care products, herbal teas, jams, nutritional supplements and medicinal products.

Mission Statement

PhytoTrade Africa will facilitate the development of a viable and enduring natural products industry in southern Africa, engaged in both domestic and export trade and based on resources accessible to poor rural communities.

Our Vision

By the year 2017:

  • The sustainable harvest and production of natural products will be a leading source of income for poor people living rural areas.
  • Southern Africa will have developed a reputation for reliability and innovation in the production and supply of high quality, sustainably harvested natural products to global markets.
  • PhytoTrade Africa will be the service-provider of first choice to the natural products industry in the region, and will have become an enduring and financially self-sustaining association.

What We Do

PhytoTrade Africa’s role is to help Southern Africa’s natural products industry to achieve rapid growth while ensuring its long term sustainability and social equity. We do this in three key ways: product development, market development and supply chain development. PhytoTrade knows, understands and is at the forefront of ABS issues, and can help partners and clients navigate through ABS in a clear, practical and informed way.

Product Development

PhytoTrade Africa carries out ongoing research to identify – and build the business case for – new products that have commercial potential in either regional or global markets. Through collaborative agreements with private sector partners, we leverage complementary R&D and work together to bring products to market. We focus on a limited range of products for which there is demonstrable market demand and which are suited to small-scale rural production.

Market Development

PhytoTrade Africa proactively identifies existing and potential market opportunities and partners, and helps to establish links between our members and export buyers. We also work to raise market awareness of, and demand for, our members’ products, for example, by exhibiting at international trade fairs and conducting PR and marketing campaigns.

Where necessary we work to overcome regulatory hurdles in order to develop new markets for our members. For example, in 2008 we secured an EU Novel Foods decision that allows our members to supply baobab fruit to the European food and drink market. This is a new and potentially valuable market opportunity, and one which our members were unable to secure independently given the long, complex and costly process involved.

Supply Chain Development

PhytoTrade Africa provides technical and business development advisory services to its members in order to create reliable and enduring supply chains across the region. We coordinate production to meet the volume requirements of the market and assist our members to attain the required quality standards for export.

We are increasingly assisting members to achieve organic and Fair Trade certification for their products, enabling them to tap into this growing global market.