Youth Speaker entry #72: Chiyedza Heri (Zimbabwe)



Utano Tea: Educating and Commercialising Underutilized and Neglected Species (NUS)
: An African philosophy Ubuntu embodies a distinctive worldview of the human community and the identities, values, rights, and responsibilities of its members. It is about “we” – not “me.”

Chiyedza HeriWe would like Utano Tea to embody this philosophy and would like to establish a tea company that benefits both the consumer and the producer, going beyond fair-trade and giving the consumer more than an opportunity to taste African tea but an opportunity to connect with the grower and experience their culture. In the spirit of Ubuntu we have a responsibility to the environment to preserve it for future generations so we will offer organic tea and by promoting indigenous herbs conserve biodiversity.

Zimbabwe as well as surrounding countries in Sub Saharan Africa, has a tropical climate that fosters flora that is not found in the rest of the world. At the same time this region is plagued with poverty and in some areas food security is threatened by drought. Our aim is to break this cycle by facilitating the economic empowerment of small scale farmers with knowledge of highly nutritious indigenous plant species that they can cultivate and sell off excess and providing them access to a market they would otherwise not have access to.

Africa has many indigenous species some have the potential to be commercialised. As these crops are growing in an environment they are adapted to they can be grown without the aid of pesticides and fertilizers, being grown organically adds to the value of the product and gives these farmers an additional source of income.

Blind tests were carried out on Zumbani as well as our newest blend hibiscus and baobab, they were both received generally well with over 90% getting positive feedback. From a control group of ten volunteers an unprecedented benefit they all shared was feeling relaxed after drinking Zumbani. Baobab has been reported to increase energy levels as well as clear skin in studies done in London by Aduna a new company specializing in Baobab.

There are challenges in attaining this such as “The Novel Foods Regulation.” Creating a trade barrier with the E.U. The application itself is £4000 and the research is quoted to be around £200,000-£500,000. Bringing such products to market will require hard work as well as collaboration with multiple players across a number of industries.

Text, photo and video are submitted by Chiyedza Heri (Zimbabwe) – chiyedzaheri(at)gmail.com

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as an application by the author, to speak as a youth representative at the World Forestry Congress. Have a look at the other entries too!

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