Bioprospecting – what does it mean?

What is a bioprospecting permit?  And why is EcoProducts Bioprospecting permit such a big deal?

On the 12 November 2013, EcoProducts was issued with a Bioprospecting permit from the South Africa Department of Environment Affairs. So what, you may ask, is this all about?

South Africa has introduced laws that make it illegal to harvest our indigenous resources for commercial use.   Companies must be able to prove that the resources being harvested are done with the full knowledge and benefit of the communities who own the resource and that it is being done sustainable way.  In issuing a Bioprospecting permit to EcoProducts for harvesting baobab fruit, we become one of the very few companies in South Africa to be recognized as being compliant with the legislation. 

Bioprospecting involves a wide range of groups, from researchers, owners of the resources, harvesters, companies involved in processing, marketing and reselling of the products and government departments.  Examples of other products are Rooibos, Pelargonium, Marula and Aloe. It is thus a complex piece of legislation to manage.  Everybody involved is expected to have a bioprospecting permit so that our resources continue to provide benefits to current and future generations.

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