Dr Francis Vorhies, Director of OGRC partner initiative, the African Wildlife Economy Institute, comments on how AWEI is exploring the potential for wild food to deliver a range of benefits to people and planet.
Wild plants are of fundamental importance to the wildlife economy, it was emphasised at a dialogue on how to protect and grow the sector, held in Stellenbosch in early March.
The fragility of business models for Africa’s protected areas has been exposed by continent-wide closure of the tourism sector in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. These areas have traditionally relied on three sources of funding – subsidies from national governments, tourism-related revenues such as entrance fees and leasing fees for lodges, and international aid. National funding for African protected areas has always been modest. During the lockdown, tourism revenue disappeared, and multilateral aid flows were redirected to Covid-related priorities.