Sustainable Collection Practices for Wild Medicinal Plants

13 March 2017 | TRAFFIC International News Release

Hanoi, Viet Nam, 13th March 2017 —30 participants from government agencies and the business sector last week joined a TRAFFIC-facilitated workshop to develop a plan of action to integrate sustainable collection practices for wild medicinal plants into the certification requirements for Good Agricultural and Collection Practices.

Under current Vietnamese legislation (Circular 14/2009/TT-BYT) pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers, and wild plant processers are obliged to follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) guidelines.

The meeting aimed to align guidance on harvesting of wild plants used in herbal medicine with the GACP guidelines, although the latter mainly focus on technical aspects of cultivation and processing.

Nevertheless, the meeting presented an opportunity to strengthen the existing legal framework to include considerations for sustainable management of resources, quality control of wild harvested medicinal plants, and capacity building for members of the value chain.

Government representatives included members from various agencies including the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Institute of Medicinal Materials, the Biodiversity Conservation Agency under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), the Ministry of Science and Technology and Forest Protection Department staff. Representatives from several pharmaceutical companies, HELVETAS, and the BioTrade Implementation Group also attended.

“We are working with the Ministry of Health and local harvesters of wild medicinal and aromatic plants in Bac Kan province to secure improved quality and sustainable use of these resources following FairWild guidelines,” said Madelon Willemsen, Head of TRAFFIC’s Viet Nam office.

“Unsustainable harvesting disrupts supplies of these wild plant species and consequently the income they generate for local communities.”

“While the GACP gives clear guidance for cultivation and subsequent production of plant resources, due consideration should be given to applying the FairWild principles to help secure sustainable and equitable sourcing of plants from the wild, which would benefit conservation of these resources, sustain local communities’ incomes and ensure the quality of the harvested product.”

The FairWild Standard provides a holistic approach towards sustainable and responsible collection practices. It outlines requirements for collection and conservation as well as legal and ethical considerations. Furthermore, it also discusses social and fair trade conditions along with management and business stipulations.

“I’m pleased that we had an opportunity to speak with members from different parts of the value chain to strengthen policies towards sustainable harvesting and trade,” said Pham Vu Khanh, Director of the Administration of Traditional Medicine.

“We can improve the sustainable management of medicinal plants while improving the livelihoods of individuals that depend on these resources.”

In Viet Nam, TRAFFIC has been improving the collection practices and livelihoods of local harvesters of wild medicinal and aromatic plants in Bac Kan province with funding from the Darwin Initiative. To ensure efforts with local collectors gains traction, TRAFFIC is working with government agencies and the private sector to consolidate policy with practice.

TRAFFIC’s participation was supported by the Darwin Initiative project “Enhancing management and benefit flows in Vietnam’s wild medicinal plant products”, funded by the UK government.

For further information, contact:
Thuy Nguyen, Program Officer for TRAFFIC in Viet Nam

Nikolas Veinot
, Communications Officer for TRAFFIC in Viet Nam

TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC is a strategic alliance of IUCN and WWF.

About FairWild
The FairWild Standard was developed through a multi-stakeholder consultation process, with the involvement of a number of different organisations (TRAFFIC, WWF, IUCN Medicinal Plant Specialist Group, German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz – BfN) amongst others). It is now maintained by the FairWild Foundation, established in 2008 to promote the further development and uptake of the Standard’s principles. For more details, see

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