The SA Hoodia Growers Association (SAHGA) recently entered into a benefit sharing agreement aimed at compensating the San people of Southern Africa for their indigenous knowledge of the hoodia species.
The San, who have been identified as the intellectual property rights owners of hoodia species, will receive R24/kg for dry hoodia from SAHGA members, after a Cites certificate is issued by Nature Conservation authorities for the export of Hoodia gordonii as food source or dietary supplement. Andries Steenkamp, chairperson of the San Council, said the agreement is a huge victory for the people. “This is the first time in history that we sign an agreement that helps to protect our heritage and where we as owners of knowledge are compensated for that knowledge.
The San people feel that justice is starting to serve for us.” SAHGA’s members will be required to register as Hoodia growers. A complete new set of permit documentation, for the control of hoodia, has been commissioned by Nature Conservation and will be implemented shortly. A pre-determined industry levy will be payable before a harvesting permit will be issued to SAHGA members to finance the day-to-day costs of this management. All registered material will have a new label with full traceability to source. From 2008 no more permits will be granted for wild harvesting to protect the species from extinction.
The San, supported by the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in SA (Wimsa), will contribute towards marketing hoodia and will endorse SAHGA registered hoodia as 100% pure SA Hoodia gordonii. AHGA has appointed a committee consisting of elected members of the Cape Ethno-Botanicals Growers’ Association, SAHGA, and Wimsa to maintain control. The committee will appoint a manager to run the association and ensure finances are properly paid over to Wimsa, which will be responsible for distributing the money to the San. – Glenneis Erasmus