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11 October 2017

SBC Contributions To Dev’t Of Access & Benefit Sharing Initiative In Cameroon

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SBC Contributions To Dev’t Of Access & Benefit Sharing Initiative In Cameroon

Throughout history, indigenous peoples and local communities have used traditional knowledge and biological resources to cure illnesses, provide nourishment, and fulfill everyday livelihood needs. More recently, many people have benefitted from the use of some of this knowledge and biodiversity to develop pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, crop varieties and livestock breeds, and other products for personal use. However, communities that have nurtured the genetic diversity over thousands of years of cultivation and wild use often have not benefitted from these developments. Frequently, they are not involved in the research and development process, receive little or no compensation for their knowledge or resources, and have no access to the final products.

Ebenezer Akumbo

In an attempt to address these concerns at international and national levels, the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Initiative was introduced.ABS Initiative refers to the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources and their related traditional knowledge.

Launched in Cameroon in 2012, the concept of ABS is been field-tested in Communities of Magha and Lewoh with Echinops and Mondia. The Mondia and Echinops genetic resources are purchased from the communities by the cooperatives (LeWoCoS and MoBECoS). The products are then exported to V. Mane Fils Company through Silver back company (SBC). The goal of the company is to provide long term financing to ERuDeF’s charity programmes through ploughing back profits generated from the Company’s businesses.

Silver Back Company serves as a link between the cooperatives and the French company. The Mount Bamboutos Echinop Cooperative Society (MoBECoS) is involved in buying the products from local communities, weighing and drying of the roots. The company is also involved in the buying and exporting of Mondia related products.

The benefit sharing scheme according to the Mutually Agreed Terms for the commercialization of Echinopsgiganteus in Cameroon is vital in regulating the relations between all stakeholders involved in the process.

Since the start of 2017, Silver Back Company has assisted in the exportation of 1 ton of Echinops roots to V. Mane Fils Company in France.

The Silver Back Company has contributed greatly in the commercialization of Echinops by linking the French Company in the North South trade relations and facilitating quality and respect of business ethics.