Medicinal and aromatic plants trade programme

Human well-being in both rural and urban areas depends on a diverse array of wild plant products from an even more diverse array of wild plant species. This includes species used for their medicinal and aromatic properties. An estimated 50,000–70,000 medicinal and aromatic species are harvested from the wild, with the annual global export value of pharmaceutical plants alone being over USD2.2 billion in 2011.

Use and trade of these plant-based pharmaceuticals and “botanicals”, as medicinal and aromatic plants are sometimes called, underpin both traditional and “modern” healthcare systems. These plants also flavour our food and drinks, perfume and give colour to beauty products and provide incense used by many religious traditions. Although accurate data are lacking, available information indicates that trade is increasing.


Figure 1: Total export values of medicinal plants, showing the top exporters in 1999 and 2009. Source: UNComtrade 

Figure 1

Figure 2Total import quantities of medicinal plants, showing the top importers in 1999 and 2009. Source: UNComtrade

figure 2

The opportunities

A growing number of companies are realizing that investing in sustainable management of wild harvests and associated supply chains makes good business sense. As well as avoiding the need to discontinue or reformulate products, investment in sustainable sourcing, particularly when Figure 3coupled with “fair trade”, can enhance a company’s corporate image. This is reinforced by growing consumer awareness of and demand for “ethical” products. Governments are also increasingly recognizing the economic importance of wild-product trade, and so keen to address sustainability issues and ensure product quality through more transparent supply chains. Groups promoting “alternative livelihoods” based on commercialization of non-timber forest products have also come to realize that success relies on stable supplies, as well as stable or growing markets.

Source (see full article):

The demand for herbal medications, cosmetics, foods and other products in this gigantic market keeps growing. Aware of the immense potential of this industry, MAP EXPO is founded as the global go-to-marketplace for major parties in the MAP sector. MAP EXPO focuses only on specified target groups, this to ensure that only relevant visitors will be present.