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Markets for marama beans in southern Africa: Linking sustainable products with sustainable livelihoods

Margarida Faria, Edward Mabaya and Danie Jordaan

Development Southern Africa, 2011, vol. 28, issue 4, 477-492

Abstract: Indigenous natural food plants are critical to rural livelihoods, especially in arid and semi-arid regions where they contribute significantly to food security and social and economic welfare. The sustainability of these plants is therefore of paramount importance. This paper analyses the market conditions for marama bean ( Tylosema esculentum ) products, taking into account economic, social and cultural conditions. Information on local livelihoods was gathered through focus groups and in-depth interviews with key informants in Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. The market analysis for marama products was conducted using an STP (segment, target, position) framework, and willingness to pay for prototype products was evaluated using the contingent valuation method to analyse structured questionnaires directed at retail outlets. The study found that assuring the sustainability of local people's livelihoods while creating a larger market is only achievable through community organisations supported by a broad marketing strategy and using cultivated marama.

Date: 2011
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