Sunday, June 23, 2024

Prof. Nyarkotey: The Money Traditional Medicine Regulation could give the Gambia

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Prof.  Raphael Nyarkotey Obu,

Many opportunities are associated with legislative regulation. For instance, the global market for traditional therapies stood at more than US$ 60 billion in 2000 and is steadily growing.

The Gambia is a nation of tea lovers especially attaya (green tea), black tea, coffee, and loose tea; a market report found that the tea market was equal to 18.40 million USD (calculated in retail prices) in 2015. Until 2025, the tea market in the Gambia is forecast to reach 48.18 million USD (in retail prices), thus increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.01% per annum for the period 2020-2025. This is a decrease, compared to the growth of about 11.46% per year, registered in 2015-2019.

The average consumption per capita in value terms reached 9.61 USD per capita (in retail prices) in 2015. In the next five years, it grew at a CAGR of 8.16% per annum. In the medium term (by 2025), the indicator is forecast to slow down its growth and increase at a CAGR of 5.92% per annum.

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In this report, the coffee alone instant market in Gambia was equal to 2.80 million USD (calculated in retail prices) in 2015. Until 2025, the coffee market in the Gambia is forecast to reach 11.51 million USD (in retail prices), thus increasing at a CAGR of 12.80% per annum for the period 2020-2025. This is a decrease, compared to the growth of about 18.39% per year, registered in 2015-2019.

The average consumption per capita in value terms reached 1.48 USD per capita (in retail prices) in 2015. In the next five years, it grew at a CAGR of 14.23% per annum. In the medium term (by 2025), the indicator is forecast to slow down its growth and increase at a CAGR of 9.67% per annum.

Also, Statista reports that the Gambia tea revenue amounts to US$39.83m in 2023. The market is expected to grow annually by 4.71% (CAGR 2023-2025).  The interesting thing is that in global comparison, most of the tea revenue is generated in China (US$111,800.00m in 2023).

This could either be a negative or positive market outlook for the Gambia, as they contribute to the tea market outlook of China. I believe that legislation and strict regulation of the traditional and complementary medicine industry have a chance to benefit the Gambian economy.

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The same report also revealed that by 2025, 16% of spending and 1% of volume consumption in the Tea segment will be attributable to out-of-home consumption (e.g., in bars and restaurants) in the Gambia.

On the international front, Fortune Business Insight reported that the global herbal medicine market size was valued at USD 151.91 billion in 2021 and the market is projected to grow from USD 165.66 billion in 2022 to USD 347.50 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 11.16% during the forecast period.

Also, The Grand View Research also reports that the global complementary and alternative medicine market size was valued at USD 117,210.3 million in 2022 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.1% from 2023 to 2030.

The interesting thing is that India’s export of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy) and value-added products of medicinal plants during 2015-2016 was $358.60 million.

In Africa for instance, where legislation and regulation exist, Andel et al found that an estimated 951 tons of crude herbal medicine were sold at Ghana’s herbal markets in 2010, with a total value of around US$ 7.8 million. Most of these plants sold at the market were mostly used for women’s health, in rituals, as aphrodisiacs, and against sexually transmitted diseases.

Also, in Benin, one study by Quiroz et al reported that the domestic medicinal plant market in Benin has economic significance. About 655 metric tons worth 2.7 million USD is sold yearly, and traditional spiritual beliefs are the major driving force behind the trade in herbal medicine. Gabon on the other hand; has just 27 medicinal plant products giving the economy US$ 1.5 million annually.

In Nigeria, is reported that the current market value of traditional medicinal plants stands at about N200 billion and could hit N1 trillion by 2025. In South Africa, it has been reported that the trade in traditional medicines in South Africa is estimated to be worth R2.9 billion per year, representing 5.6% of the National Health budget. The report further established that raw materials amount to R520 million per year (in 2006 prices). An additional R2.6 billion value is estimated to be added through the prescription of traditional plant medicines by traditional healers.

The traditional medicine industry in South Africa value does not enter into formal trade and therefore is an addition to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  The most intriguing thing is that the medicinal plant trade in South Africa is equal to 5.6% of the National Health budget, equal to the whole Mpumalanga Health budget, or equal to the KZN Provincial Hospital budget.

Additionally, in Tanzania, a study found that more than 61 000 kilograms of nonpowdered medicines valued at US$344,882 are traded in informal herbal medicine markets. Morocco, on the other hand, annual revenues generated from the export of medicinal plants were US$55.9 million in 2015 and US$174, 227,384 in Egypt.

It is interesting how North African countries make a huge number of monies from herbal medicinal products as compared to West African Countries. For instance, a study reported that the Gambia exported just $559 in Tea, making it the 171st largest exporter of Tea in the world. In the same year, Tea was the 239th most exported product in Gambia. The main destination of Tea exports from the Gambia is Switzerland ($365), China ($108), and Spain ($86).

The fastest-growing export markets for Tea in the Gambia between 2019 and 2020 were Switzerland ($365), Spain ($86), and China ($31).

In terms of import: that same year, Gambia imported $23.9M in Tea, becoming the 60th largest importer of Tea in the world. In the same year, Tea was the 14th most imported product in GambiaGambia imports Tea primarily from: China ($21.8M), Sri Lanka ($1.19M), India ($581k), Egypt ($108k), and Senegal ($53.9k). The fastest-growing import markets in Tea for the Gambia between 2019 and 2020 were Sri Lanka ($135k), Singapore ($33.2k), and the Netherlands ($12.8k).

The Gambia is unable to export its herbal medicinal teas outside to generate foreign exchange. The recent regulation on herbal and alternative therapies provides a stringent mechanism for standardization and if implemented well, I believe it could improve the overdependence on foreign herbal medicinal products. The Gambia herbal market could see more investment and export to rake in foreign exchange.

The author is a BL Candidate, at the Gambia Law School, Banjul, The Gambia.

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