plants DB - indigenious

keller ak.and.ak at on-line.de
Mon Dec 31 09:01:07 EST 2001


> Her point in sharing this knowledge with me was to avoid the plant's
> value from being corporatised - she said that because it grows in tubs
> or in the bush, it should be grown and used - not made into a pill for
> profit.
I think this is a very understandable attitude, especially if you look at
the history of how the europeans treatet the Aboriginals and how many
species there have become extinct already. I recall reading somewhere (in
Mollisons autobiography, I think) that 40% or so of the traditional food
species of the Aboriginals are now extinct (if I recall that statement
correctly).

Just look at how seed companies, agrochemical companies and pharmaceutical
companies act worldwide. One must be very cautions with them. E.g. read the
article in the last issue of permaculture magazine about the problems the
rape seed farmers are having in Canada.

In Cameroon, the exploitation of Prunus Africana, the bark of which is
fabricated into a remedy for prostate enlargement, almost lead to the
extinction of the tree. I heard that about 8000 Prunus Africana trees have
practically been stripped nacked in the mount cameroon forests. The company
that did it, a french company called Plantecam Medicam (owned by the french
company Laboratoire Debat, finally went out of business, but not without
leaving all that destruction behind.

"He came here and paid a small amount to a
few people. The result was major destruction
of the forest, our cultural heritage. If he comes
to this region he will not be welcome."
Message from the Fon of Nso to the owner
of Plantecam Medicam, 1992

(From "Sustainabillity of harvestng Prunus Africana Bark in Cameroon, A.B.
Cunningham and F.T. Mbenkum - Available on the web, but I don't remember the
URL, 1993, there are other more up to date things on the web about this
topic as well (the Fon is the local king)).

Looks like they are now trying to harvest the stuff in a sustainable way and
to form a company that is owned by the villagers themselves.

If anybody is making pills from that Australian plant for profit, it should
be the Aboriginal people themselves.

Andreas




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