The Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies' (TES)
Volume 9, Number 2, 2010

ISSN 1602-2297


Linking Medicinal Plant Production with Livelihood Enhancement in Bangladesh: Implications of a Vertically Integrated Value Chain


A. K. M. Shahidullah
Lecturer and CIDA-BEGCB Program Manager, Department of Environmental Science & Management, North South University, Bashundhara, Dhaka-1229, Bangladesh. E-mail: atg_shahid@yahoo.com (Corresponding Author)

C. Emdad Haque
Director and Professor, Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, 70 Dysart Road, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3T 2N2; E-mail: haquece@ms.umanitoba.ca


Abstract: In this paper, we analyse the value chain for medicinal plants produced by village-based marginal farmers and homestead growers whose livelihoods are significantly supported by the commercial scale production of several plant species. We also suggest an improved value chain system through economic coordination that links production with the enhancement of the producers’ livelihoods. A field-based investigation was carried out in Natore district of northwest Bangladesh where a total of 160 farmers and households from eight villages, located within two unions, were engaged in the production of medicinal plant species. The research gathered explanations for the resultant improvements in livelihoods and the wider acceptance of such unconventional agricultural practices in the locality. The findings revealed that the primary and wholesale secondary markets were mostly dominated by middlemen who cause inflated prices due to lack of competition in the medicinal plants value chain. A closer linkage between the producers and processors through vertical integration in the value chain could result in a multitude of benefits to both the producers and processors of medicinal plants in terms of price, quality, lead time and overall control of the supply chain.

Keywords: Medicinal plant production, livelihood, value chain, vertical integration, middlemen and wholesale


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