Africa continues to be a significant source of a wide range of native medicinal and aromatic plants serving the global food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, herbal and dietary supplement industries, originating an estimated annual worldwide trade value of USD 60 billion. As one of the know-how sharing & dissemination activities financed by The Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) in favor of the enhancement of key value adding commodity sectors in African developing Countries, the international workshop on “Potentials and Constraints for Aromatic Plants and Essential Oils Production and Marketing in Africa”, was held from the 3rd to 5th May 2012 in Rabat, Morocco, with the support of the FAO Intergovernmental sub-Group on Tropical Fruits and the executing agency BERCI International.
Hosted by the Haut Commissariat aux Eaux et Forêts et à la Lutte Contre la Désertification of the Kingdom of Morocco, this international workshop was successful in bringing together a wide range of stakeholders belonging to the aromatic plants and essential oils sector, including smallholder farmers, producer associations, national research institutions and the private sector from across 8 African countries: Morocco, Kenya, Somalia, Mali, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mauritius and Algeria.
During 3 days of expert panel presentations and open debates, participants had the opportunity to assess the major potentials and influential constraints characterizing the entire value chain of the aromatic plants and essential oils commodity, from the side of production, processing and trading. The workshop was successful in raising the profile of aromatic plants and essential oils at the regional and international levels, thus promoting further research and development of the commodities by national and international institutions.
It is our hope that the outcome of this workshop will contribute to the setting of an enabling market and policy environment for aromatic plants and essential oils development in Africa to the advantage of the vulnerable small holder producers.