Dr Sarah Venter recently trained a group of ecologists on doing tree-health assessments in Zimbabwe. “We were looking at various aspects of baobab health that include the impact of elephants on baobab trees, bark harvesting and diseases. This work took us all around Zimbabwe including the Hwange National Park, where the assessment team measured over 900 baobabs” she says.
“I worked with Gus Le Breton the African Plant Hunter and an organisation called Bio-Innovation Zimbabwe (BIZ), a non-profit innovation hub, driving research and facilitating knowledge-sharing around existing and potential commercial applications for indigenous under-utilized plants”.
A short video of some of the action in Zimbabwe can be seen here.
Says BIZ’s website: “Our goal is simple. There are many locally available plant species that could be used by small-scale farmers, especially in the drier parts of Zimbabwe. Our job is to find them, study them and develop them into marketable products, thus transforming them from potential revenue sources into actual revenue sources. We don’t get hung up on theory. We want to see farmers generating real cash from these underutilized plants. Otherwise, we’re wasting our time”.