The African Biotrade Festival: A celebration of value from indigenous African plants

The African biotrade sector has the potential to be a major driver of economic growth and development on the continent. In order to realise this potential, the biotrade sector needs to be well-organised and responsive to the needs of business, customers and the people with rights to Africa’s natural resources.

July 26, 2023

The Access and Benefit-Sharing Compliant Biotrade in South(ern) Africa (ABioSA) project supports the development of a resilient southern African biotrade sector. ABioSA’s aim is to create a high-growth, jobs-rich and innovative biotrade sector with small businesses that comply with domestic and international regulations, and is now looking to further its efforts and grow awareness of the sector by supporting the first annual African Biotrade Festival later this year.

The African Biotrade Festival is a three-day event that will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 14-16 September 2023. The festival is co-located with the Organic & Natural Products Expo Africa, and hosted in partnership with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) and BioInnovation Africa.

Under the theme “Exploring the potential of African plant biodiversity”, the festival will bring together investors, researchers, buyers, innovators and consumers from across the world and promises to be the biggest gathering of the biodiversity ingredients and products sector. This theme reflects the goal of showcasing the enabling environment government is creating, industry plans to grow the sector, the latest research on indigenous African resources and how they can be used to create sustainable businesses and jobs.

The festival will feature a variety of activities, including:

• An exhibition of biotrade products from southern Africa
• A conference showcasing industry priorities for sector growth, including input from academia on the latest research
• Workshops and discussions on the latest trends and products
• Matchmaking sessions for buyers, suppliers, investors and businesses
• Demonstrations of how biotrade products are made and used
• Tastings and testing of biotrade products

The festival is open to all categories of visitors, including:

• Investors looking for new opportunities
• Researchers interested in learning more about indigenous African resources
• Buyers looking for high-quality biotrade products
• Suppliers looking to distribute their raw and processed plant materials
• Innovators seeking to develop new biotrade products
• Individuals who are interested in learning more about the biotrade sector
• Government and international development organisations

The African Biotrade Festival is a unique opportunity to learn about the latest trends in the biotrade sector, to connect with potential partners and investors, gain insights into the potential of the sector to create sustainable businesses and jobs, and to experience the power of indigenous African resources. Don’t miss out!

Register to attend today at and be part of the growth and celebration of the African biotrade.

A number of technical partners have come on board to support the African Biotrade Festival.

These technical partners include:

• The Access and Benefit-Sharing Capacity Development Initiative (ABS Initiative)
• BioProducts Advancement Network South Africa (BioPANZA)
• Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC)
• Global Environment Facility – GEF-6 programme
• South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
• Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO)
• Swiss-South African Intellectual Property Programme (SSAIP)
• UNIDO Global Quality Standards Programme (GQSP)
• Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT)
• World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)

Launched in 2018 and now in its second phase, the ABioSA project has, for the past five years, supported the sector by adding value to natural plant ingredients, the development of new products, and stimulating economic opportunities while recognising the importance of traditional knowledge, biodiversity, conservation and sustainable use. The project is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in close partnership with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE).

Working with a range of biotrade value chain stakeholders, including governments, businesses, communities and research institutions, ABioSA seeks to develop a biotrade sector that benefits all involved. Part of this work is promoting the use of sustainable harvesting and cultivation practices, development of new biotrade products, and strengthening of women’s participation in the sector. ABioSA also helps SMEs become investment-ready, access funds, overcome regulatory hurdles to exporting products, and access local and international markets.

Find out more about ABioSA here.

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