ABS Biodiscovery Case in Ethiopia

ABS Biodiscovery Case in Ethiopia

Harnessing the cosmetic potential of species of Osyris.

The Osyris Quadripartita (from the Osyris species Santalaceae), is commonly known as the African sandalwood. It is usually used for developing essential oil products in the cosmetic, perfumery and aromatic industries and as ingredients for the food and flavour industries.

These special properties of Osyris Quadripartitae inspired the Osyris Project, a partnership that seeks the development of essential oil products for cosmetic, aromatic and flavor industries, using fractions derived from Osyris species. The project involves the South Omo people as providers of genetic resources, and Aditi International, a research lab based in Mumbai, India, and Docomo Oils PLC, an international company which has more than 30 years of experience in the field of essential oils and cosmetics, as users of genetic resources. The Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute (EBI) is the authority that granted a national access permit based on PIC and MAT, in compliance with the Nagoya Protocol.

The company invested over $3 million to start a first-of-its-kind industry in Ethiopia, benefiting suppliers of the Osyris materials in rural areas with permanent employment, access to alternatives revenue sources, payment for raw materials, support of local initiatives, electricity to pump water 24h per day in the community and guidance on how to grow Osyris from seeds for sustainability purposes including new plant propagation, among others.

“Before Docomo Oils arrived, Osyris was not well known for its economic importance, but when the local community earned money and improved their livelihood, Osyris became more popular as a high-value plant resource with the highest priority for conservation”, said Ashenafi Ayenew Hailu, from EBI.

Read more about this biodiscovery case here and how it contributes to Sustainable Development Goals.

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