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Rhodes University (2018)

Access and control of biodiversity in the context of biopiracy : the case of pelargonium sidoides in the Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality

Doyle, Anastasia Roxane

Titre : Access and control of biodiversity in the context of biopiracy : the case of pelargonium sidoides in the Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality

Auteur : Doyle, Anastasia Roxane

Université de soutenance : Rhodes University

Grade : Master of Social Science 2018

Résumé partiel
The purpose of this research is to explore access and control of biodiversity in the context of biopiracy with specific reference to the case of pelargonium sidoides in the Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality. The research is informed by the increased appropriation of local biodiversity and indigenous knowledge by industry as well as global debates on promoting sustainable resource utilisation and sustainable rural livelihoods. This study adopts a two-pronged conceptual approach mainly, Marx’s Ecology and the Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Framework (SRLF). The former provides useful insights into the processes and dynamics of power asymmetries between developed and developing countries, capital accumulation, inherent displacement and the predatory nature of capitalism. Whilst the latter addresses how livelihoods are fashioned in a holistic way. As a significant starting point the South African political economy is examined through the lens of the two economies debate. This research is primarily qualitative using in-depth interviews, observations and archival research as the primary data collection techniques. Preliminary site visits were conducted to negotiate access. Key informants of the study were representatives of the core groups (interested and affected stakeholders) involved in the case of pelargonium sidoides. Specifically, participants included representatives from the Imingcangathelo Community Development Trust and the Masakhane Community Property Association, local harvesters, local community members, monitoring and enforcement environmental officers, plant breeders (cultivators), scientists, local businessmen involved in natural resource trade, academics, legal representatives and non-governmental organisations. The Rhodes University research ethical guidelines were followed accordingly. The findings of the study suggest that trade in pelargonium sidoides is influenced by a complex and dynamic interplay between the state-industry-rural elite coalitions. Moreover, that this activity is largely centralised and exclusionary.

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