Planting and caring for pharmaceutical useful plants on small-scale farms

Community discussion with participants of the PhytoWood-Synergies project (©M. Domke)

A coordination meeting and a field visit in Ethiopia took place in the end of July to observe and learn about the planting and caring phase of pharmaceutical useful plants on smallholder farms. It is part and progress of the project PhytoWood-Synergies. The target is to identify plants that have anthelminthic features. They are useful to treat worm infections that are a very common disease in Ethiopia. Parallel it shall be investigated if this activity has income generating potentials for the farmers.

Project meeting in Addis Ababa (©M. Domke)

The participants of July’s joint trip to Ethiopia were Prof. Peter Imming from the Institute of Pharmacy at Martin-Luther University in Halle and the TU Dresden team with Prof. Jürgen Pretzsch, Dr. Maxi Domke and Katharina Vöhler, who recently did her BSc research field work in Ethiopia on the selected medicinal plant species. In the capital Addis Ababa, our German delegation met the two Ethiopian project partners from the School of Pharmacy, Addis Ababa University and the Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Natural Resources, Hawassa University. The current status as well as the future steps of the joint activity were discussed.

From Addis Ababa, the journey took us by car to Chefasine Kebele, the project site of the PhytoWood-Synergies and WoodCluster project. There, half a year before in a first meeting with the community of Chefasine Kebele in the Southern part of Ethiopia, the 10 participating farmers (5 women and 5 men) as well as the plants for this pilot project have been selected.

We visited four of the selected farms accompanied by the respective farmers. They were highly motivated to show us the prepared beds, the plants and their progress. Up to 5 different species have been planted in the farms up to know. In the farmers’ gardens as well as in a discussion round afterwards, appreciation, knowledge as well as questions towards the activity have been exchanged from both sides. The conditions and handling of the production and processing of the plants and plant material were very relevant topics.

The project team of community and university staff (©M. Domke)

It was a fruitful visit and encounter with the community of Chefasine and all project partners. Now we are looking forward to the end of the rain season and the subsequent dry season when the plants and plant material will further grow and ready to be harvested. Parallel an Ethiopian female student will start to investigate the production and management of pharmaceutical useful plants at small-scale farms

By Maxi Domke

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