The Green Resource Products Innovation Platform, among other things, aims to advance the quality, enhance innovation, and address challenges in the value chain of the medicinal plant products business in Tanzania so that it can be sustainable and make a significant contribution to the income of citizens and nation has officially launched at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro.
The launching event was organized by Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) through the Directorate of Postgraduate Studies, Research, Technology Transfer and Consultancy (DPRTC) in collaboration with the Green Resources Innovations for Livelihood Improvement (GRILI) project, it took place on January 23rd, 2021 at Nelson Mandela Freedom Square located in Solomon Mahlangu Campus in Morogoro.
On the day of the event, Sokoine University of Agriculture's experts encouraged to continue collaborating with traditional medicine practitioners and other institutions in conducting research on drugs that will help the world in the fight against various diseases including COVID 19 and other dangerous diseases that affects human, Animals and even plants health as statistics in Tanzania show that traditional medicine contributes more than 45% in the field of medicine.
Dr. Paul Mhame addressing the audience.
Speaking at the event, the Assistant Director of the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Unit in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr. Paul Mhame on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the ministry noted that traditional medicines have a great role to play in dealing with various diseases especially in finding ways to prevent and treat and that is why there is a traditional and alternative medicine act No.23 of 2002 which make provisions for promotion, control and
regulation of traditional and alternative medicines practices in Tanzania.
"Access to Traditional and Alternative Medicine from medicinal plants will greatly help reach more people, especially those living in rural areas, so I am very pleased with the goals of this platform as they are in line with the government's goals through our ministry of health to ensure we improve the health of our citizens through modern and traditional medicines,” said Dr. Mhame.
He explained that the traditional medicines business in the world is growing very fast as according to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, in 2000 its sales were 20 billion US dollars, in 2012 it increased to the US $ 60 billion, in 2018 it reached US dollars 80 billion and it is now estimated that by 2050 sales of traditional medicines products will reach $ 3 trillion.
"Therefore, I strongly urge my fellow SUA researchers and traditional healers in the country to work together and organize themselves so that Tanzania can benefit from the sale of traditional medicine" stressed Dr. Mhame.
Speaking before welcoming the official guest to officially launch the platform, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Sokoine University of Agriculture (administration and finance) Prof. Amandus Muhairwa on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Raphael Chibunda said the goal of the platform is in line with the goals of the university which is the provision of professional knowledge and skills through training, research results, extension services, and professional advice.
Prof. Amandus Muhairwa
He added that SUA through its researchers participating in this project have conducted many studies that have shown that there are many challenges in the entire value chain of the traditional medicine products business especially in the innovation and creativity area, so SUA has found it worthwhile to use its internal experience in collaboration with other stakeholders to coordinate the establishment of this platform.
For his part, the Chief Government Chemist, Dr. Fidelice Mafumiko urged the traditional healers to continue cooperating with his office in testing the various ingredients found in their medicines to help avoid any side effects that may occur to their clients if the medication contains unsafe ingredients.
Dr. Fidelice Mafumiko
Dr. Mafumiko said that the goals of traditional healers and the goals of his office are almost the same, to ensure the safety of citizens and users of these products, and his office is equipped with enough experts to identify everything in their medicine so the few who commit fraud should stop immediately as they will be identified.
"The responsibility of my office is not to prevent you from getting the registration of your medicines but we want to see that every medicine you give to patients contains the right ingredients so that it can treat well and not cause harm to your customers so do not be afraid, let's work together, " said Dr. Mafumiko.
Dr. Mafumiko concluded his speech by commending the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) and its experts for the efforts they are taking in helping these traditional healers to improve the services they provide to the community so that it can be better and with the required standards. He pledged to partner with SUA in the initiative so that it can bring about the intended productivity to the community and the nation through the experts of his office whenever needed.
Dr. Faith Mabiki
For her part, the leader of the GRILI project, Dr. Faith Mabiki said that since the project started in 2018 it has been a great success for traditional medicine stakeholders in Tanzania and they continues to work with them to ensure the business of traditional and herbal medicine contributes to the economy of those stakeholders and the nation.
"When we started this project in 2018 most of the traditional healers here were selling their medicines in plastic bags, sacks and other non-standard packaging but we are happy today when we launch this platform we are seeing all of them have put their medicine in the best packaging and professionally acceptable standards” explained Dr. Mabiki.
She added that their goal is to see the business in medicinal plants products get market abroad and help these traditional healers earn their own income but also the nation benefits more from the business just like other countries in the world.
Dr. Mabiki concluded by saying that in order for this to be successful there must also be a sustainable access to medicinal plants so that whenever it is needed in large quantities it can be obtained and that is why the project teaches all traditional medicine practitioners how to set up herbal plantations so that they can cultivate and get them in abundant and easily when needed.
About the GRILI project
Green Resources Innovations for Livelihood Improvement (GRILI) is a DANIDA funded research project implimented by SUA in collaboration with researchers from NM-AIST, ITM, NIMR, MU, TIRDO and UCP since January 2018. The project aims at advancing the Quality of Green Resource Products (GRPs) for markets in order to contribute in improving Tanzanians Livelihood.
Read more about the project in the below link