Trade evolution of medicinal plants’ products in Tanzania: an explorative study

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Leibniz Information Centre for Economics


In Tanzania, a complex rural to urban supply network for the medicinal plants' products trade has developed over time driven by environmental changes and the response of traders. The environment changes include policy, regulatory frameworks, and pandemics. These environmental changes and responses of traders shaped the current trade practices. However, the response of traders to environment dynamics and the evolution paths over time to the current status is not well documented. Therefore, this paper aimed to synchronize environment dynamics incidences for a period of time and empirically determine the respective responses of the medicinal plants' traders in Tanzania with respective evolution paths. The study applied economic evolution theory to describe the interactions of environmental changes and responses of traders and to determine the evolution stages. Primary data were collected from traders, regulators, and researchers through 10 focus group discussions and 16 in-depth interviews from five regions of Tanzania. The traders followed the market in urban areas and establish supply chains to meet market demand. While environment changes caused de-coordination, the traders responded by re-coordination to explore market opportunities. Four evolution stages of trade in medicinal plants products were identified in Tanzania: Colonial era (1882 -1961), government supremacy era (1961 - 1984), emergency of private sector era (1985- 2004), and the market and regulation integration era (started in 2005). As a result of the partial implementation of the regulatory framework, the fifth stage of trade evolution is expected. The fifth stage is when the regulatory framework and market forces will work together. The study recommends proper enforcements measures to be put in place to ensure desired results whenever there are environmental changes in traditional medicines. Because the fifth stage is expected, potential business models to be adopted can be studied to ensure firms' survival during stiff competition.


Research article


Critical incidences, Traditional medicine, Business growth, Legitimation-products


Mpelangwa, Eziacka Mathew/Makindara, Jeremia Ramos et. al. (2022). TradeEvolution of Medicinal Plants’ Products in Tanzania : An Explorative Study. [S.l.] : SSRN.