A SUCCESSFUL RURAL ENTERPRISE
MAKING BUSINESS OUT OF INDIGENOUS HERBS AND PLANTS
A determined and innovative group of 20 women from the Mpaphala District, near Eshowe, formed the Vukuzakhe Women's Group to work collectively to lift themselves out of poverty. In 2004 the Group jumped at an opportunity to become involved in establishing an indigenous herbal plant growing and processing enterprise on about 3 hectares of land that they had access to near their homes.
With the support of the Institute of Natural Resources, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, National Department of Science and Technology, and more recently the PPT Trust, the Group now has almost 3 hectares under cultivation with more than 40 popular indigenous plant species, including Bulbine natalensis, Siphinochilus aethiopicus, Hypoxis hemerocallidea, Lippia javanica and many others.
The Group, led by chairperson Mrs Khululiwe Zulu and Treasurer Nelisiwe Ngema, now sustainably harvests plants from their garden and processes these into a range of natural remedies and health products. These products include herbal soaps, bath salts, facial scrubs and room fresheners. There are also plans to expand the range to include face creams, body lotions, healing balm, lip ice and a range of herbal teas. Some of these beautiful indigenous plants are also available for purchase as garden or pot plants.