Indigenous Plant Task Team (IPTT)
Promoting the Sustainable Utilisation of Namibia's Indigenous Plant Resources
The IPTT is a government-mandated, multi-stakeholder forum for the indigenous plants products industry in Namibia. It was formed originally as the Indigenous Fruits Task Team after the first Promotion of Indigenous Fruit workshop in April 2000, to develop a co-ordinated approach and strategy for the implementation of an economically sustainable promotion of indigenous fruit in Namibia. Its terms of reference were based on the priorities for action established at that workshop. During the course of its work, however, it became apparent that there was a need to also include the non-fruiting parts of indigenous plants. Thus, at the second National Indigenous Fruit Stakeholders Workshop held in Tsumeb in May 2003, it was mandated to change its name to the Indigenous Plants Task Team and to expand its work to include other indigenous plants and their plant parts other than fruit.
The IPTT currently has 14 core members some of whom have voting rights and does co-opt additional, non-voting members from time to time. In addition, there are a large number of regular observers and guests are often also invited to attend meetings. Meetings are held every three months. The Directorate of Agricultural Research and Training, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) acts as the chair with the Economic Botany Section of the National Botanical Research Institute within the same Ministry fulfilling the role of Secretariat. Discussion and information sharing is encouraged in the forum meetings and decisions are taken mostly by consensus.
Funding is received from the MAWF on an annual basis, as well as from various other donor sources to support its activities and to lever further public and private investment through its role as a focal point.
The overall objective of the IPTT is to promote the sustainable utilisation of Namibia’s indigenous plant resources for:
- greater household food security
- agricultural diversification
- income, employment and livelihood opportunities
- agro-industrial development
The main task of the IPTT, with a mandate from its members, is to develop and co-ordinate the implementation of a national strategy for the promotion of indigenous plants and products derived from these, by providing advice, technical inputs, funds and makes linkages. To this end the IPTT has an agreed Strategy and Action Plan, with implementation being guided by flexible, market-driven responses.
To facilitate and co-ordinate the selection of resources for development the IPTT has adopted a “pipeline” approach in which resources with product development potential are prioritised. This flexible approach has allowed the IPTT to allocate its limited funds and expertise to those resources and products requiring financial and/or technical support at a given time to move their development forward. This approach is supporting the research into and development of a number of products from indigenous plant resources by the resource owners and in many cases the holders of traditional use knowledge. As a part of this, the IPTT is instrumental in identifying potential technical partners to support research and product development. The development of such partnerships is essential for the Namibian indigenous plants product industry in order to take potential resources to the necessary level of analysis and quality required to interest international product developers and marketers.
Attendance of IPTT meetings is open to interested parties, whether directly or indirectly involved in the indigenous plants products industry.
The IPTT Secretariat is located at the National Botanical Research Institute. Parties interested in attending meetings or obtaining more information on the indigenous plants products industry can contact the Senior Agricultural Researchers at the Economic Botany Section of the National Botanical Research Institute at telephone +264-61-202 2012 or emailing email@example.com