Traditional Medicine Practitioners in the country have been advised to take a closer look at how to use the results of research conducted by researchers from the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) and other institutions to improve existing products and introduce new products to meet the needs of the community at the right time.
The advice was given by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration and Finance) Prof. Amandus Muhairwa on behalf of the university's Vice Chancellor, Prof. Raphael Chibunda while opening a one-day training workshop for traditional healers from various parts of the country organized by the Green Resources Innovations for Livelihood Improvement (GRILI) project on 21st January 2021 at Solomon Mahlangu Campus in Mazimbu Morogoro
Prof. Muhairwa said the approach is very important especially at a time when the world is struggling to find a vaccine and cure for COVID 19 disease where herbal remedies have shown to do better than those in hospitals.
Various guests attended the workshop looking at some of the medicinal plant products
He said traditional medicinal products face various challenges related to the production, harvesting, sale, and sustainable availability of raw materials, and in order to reduce those challenges and eliminate them completely, more scientific research and innovation in marketing and business procedures should be followed.
He also urged Traditional Medicine Practitioners to look at policy issues that challenge the transfer of these technologies so that they can be used commercially and set up pharmaceutical manufacturing industries especially in this period where government emphasis is to promote industrialization.
Prof. Muhairwa concluded his speech by assuring all the participants that Sokoine University of Agriculture, especially through the Directorate of Postgraduate Studies, Research, Technology transfer and Consultancy (DPRTC) in collaboration with the government, will continue to support the efforts of all stakeholders in the health sector in helping them improve their products as the environment allows.
Speaking before welcoming the official guest to open the workshop, the research and publication coordinator at DPRTC - SUA, Prof. Japhet Kashaigili said that the directorate and other SUA units have been in the process of organizing such workshops to try to improve trade in agricultural, livestock and forestry products in collaboration with various stakeholders in those sectors.
Prof. Japhet Kashaigili giving his speech
He said Sokoine University of Agriculture has been engaging with quality managers and auditors of these businesses as well as policy makers in general and this process have increased the contribution of the university in solving various challenges and improving crop trade and this is especially important in the fifth phase government whose direction is to become an industrial economy.
Prof. Kashaigili continued to say that, Universities around the world are centers of academic development and research and in that context, the postgraduate directorate through its technology transfer unit as well as the GRILI project have seen it fit to use its internal experience and in collaboration with other stakeholders to organize workshops here at SUA in order to bring all stakeholders together and discuss how to raise awareness and solve those challenges.
Explaining the objectives of the GRILI project and the workshop, the project leader, Dr. Faith Mabiki said the implementation of this project started in 2018 with the aim of contributing to increasing the quality of medicinal products to improve the lives of developers, consumer health and contribute to GDP.
GRILI project leader, Dr. Faith Mabiki speaking
Dr. Mabiki said in order to achieve these long-term goals, the project builds research capacity to 5 PhD students and 2 Masters students in key areas of chemical, drug resistance, and marketing and is based on providing research results that will be used by key stakeholders to improve these products.
"This workshop which one of the activities was to launch the Platform for the development of herbal products for national development focused more on discussing the improvement of production, processing, packaging and marketing of herbal products in Tanzania and how to solve those challenges,” said Dr. Mabiki.
For his part, the Principal of Solomon Mahlangu College of Science and Education, Dr. Geofrey Karugila said in terms of research the college is the only one that offers a master's degree that focuses directly on the study of herbal products and has more than nine projects that in one way or another touch these medicinal plants.
"For that reason we hope to contribute to the efforts of SUA and the Nation in increasing the quality of these products to find markets" stressed Dr. Karugila.
Also, Dr. Geofrey Karugila thanked the stakeholders from all parts of the country for coming to participate in the forum, exhibition, and launch of the forum and urged them to spend a few days at SUA to learn and experience various historical events on the campus which was a camp for South African freedom fighters.
The workshop will be followed by a major exhibition of traditional medicine and its products which will be held at the Morogoro market grounds on 22/01/2021 and on Saturday 23/01/2021, there will be the official launching of the "Green Resource Products innovation Platform - GRIP" at the Solomon Campus Mahlangu Mazumbu all organized by the GRIL Project.
For more information about the GRILI project kindly visit the below link