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Severe biodiversity loss in Southeast Asia

Loss of biodiversity is a worldwide threat. In Southeast Asia, deforestation rates are critically endangering the region’s biodiversity. This region houses six of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots.

Biodiversity is vital to the livelihoods of communities. The sustainable use of biodiversity resources is important for both long-term economic development and the future of our planet. Biodiverse ecosystems also provide water and soil retention and pollination.

Developing biodiversity-related opportunities is core to ProFound’s activities

ProFound specialises in BioTrade development: creating economic opportunities while protecting our Earth’s biodiversity. We work with local communities and our partners, such as CBI and UNCTAD BioTrade, to develop systems that strengthen value chains. ProFound has established models for successful business cases in countries ranging from Peru and Colombia to Uganda.

“ProFound has been a key partner for the development of the BioTrade Initiative – both in terms of developing strategies and tools for effective programmes, as well as in implementing activities within these programmes.” Lorena Jaramillo, Programme Manager UNCTAD BioTrade Programme

What are BioTrade products? In our work, we use UNCTAD’s definition: ‘Products which are collected, produced, transformed and commercialised and are derived from species of native biodiversity under the criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability’. We consider native and naturalised, wild-collected and cultivated plants that enrich or maintain biodiversity.

Key aspects in BioTrade development are sustainable cultivation, harvesting practices and their certification, as well as benefit sharing with producing communities and knowledge holders.

BioTrade in Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar

To create biodiversity-related economic opportunities for entrepreneurs, ProFound contributes expertise to the Helvetas implemented and SECO-financed Regional BioTrade Project in Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. The project intends to create business models for sustainably sourced, traceable and value-added natural ingredients.

“ProFound worked together with the Helvetas teams in researching the possibilities for BioTrade. Their help with the desk research, field work and reporting has been very useful in the completion of the inception phase of the project.” – Tuan, Le Anh, Helvetas Vietnam

Helvetas and Profound identified current bottlenecks among value chain actors operating in the BioTrade sector during the inception phase of the project. Many of these issues originate in a lack of ability to translate market opportunities into business and export planning. These include:

  • inefficient value chain management;
  • low levels of safety and compliance and understanding of CSR;
  • difficult access to finance and R&D support;
  • lacking knowledge of international markets and market access requirements
  • weak marketing capacities of small and medium enterprises

What have we done so far? See our article on finalising the inception phase of the Regional BioTrade Project. We will create new BioTrade business cases in the three countries, where ProFound provides technical backstopping and support to the national teams.

ProFound´s Solutions for BioTrade development

Small-scale BioTrade cultivation in Southeast Asia

Processing BioTrade cinnamon in Vietnam