Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences
ISSN (Print): 2328-3912 ISSN (Online): 2328-3920 Website: http://www.sciepub.com/journal/aees Editor-in-chief: Alejandro González Medina
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Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. 2018, 6(4), 118-127
DOI: 10.12691/aees-6-4-3
Open AccessArticle

The Trade in Wild Medicinal Plants, Narok County, Kenya

Peris M. Kariuki1, 2, , Catherine W. Lukhoba3, Cecilia M. Onyango4 and Jesse T. Njoka1

1Department of Land Resource Management and Agricultural Technology (LARMAT), University of Nairobi, P.O.Box 29053 00625 Nairobi, Kenya

2Kenya Resource Centre for indigenous Knowledge (KENRIK), National Museums of Kenya (NMK), P. O. Box 40658 00100 Nairobi, Kenya

3School of Biological Sciences, University of Nairobi, Kenya, P. O. Box 31197 00100 Nairobi, Kenya

4Department of Crop Production and Plant Protection, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya P.O.Box 29053 00625 Nairobi

Pub. Date: November 09, 2018

Cite this paper:
Peris M. Kariuki, Catherine W. Lukhoba, Cecilia M. Onyango and Jesse T. Njoka. The Trade in Wild Medicinal Plants, Narok County, Kenya. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. 2018; 6(4):118-127. doi: 10.12691/aees-6-4-3

Abstract

Sale of wild plants can provide income security for rural communities during times when their livelihoods are disrupted by land use change, globalization of economies and climate change. This study was carried out to describe the trade in wild medicinal plants in Narok, a rural region of Kenya. Data were gathered between July 2013 and June 2014. Semi-structured questionnaires were administered to traders in wild medicinal plants. These were supplemented by key informant interviews and field observation. Results showed that trade in wild medicinal plants in Narok was a recent phenomenon, it started in the early 1980’s and the number of traders had gradually increased over the last 30 years. The average age of traders was 48 years and most (65%) of them had no formal schooling. This trade was dominated by men at 85% and it was unregulated in open air markets. Most traders (66%) were engaged in it on full time basis. Fifty five percent (55%) of all traders interviewed were mobile and moved from one market to another while the rest operated from a fixed location. At least 106 wild plant species were on sale in the markets, with the family Leguminosae having the highest number of species 16% traded followed by Compositae at 5.7%. Most traders had 11-30 plant species up for sale. The clientele for wild medicinal plant products were households, hoteliers and livestock herders. Medicinal plant products on sale were sourced from the wild. The increasing popularity and marketing of these wild medicinal plants was seen to be a threat to the remaining wild stocks. This project recommends that conservation measures that include both in situ and ex situ measures be undertaken to meet this demand. In addition the traders should be organized into groups to help self-regulate the trade.

Keywords:
wild medicinal plants trade dry land Maasai Narok

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