Natural Products Expo; HerbFEST 2016 Holds in Owerri

HerbFEST 2016

HerbFEST 2016 – Africa is a huge continent that straddles the equator, extending from 370N and 350S and endowed with an enormous wealth of plant resources. The indigenous flora of Africa has historically supported healthcare delivery, food security, as well as cosmetics and beauty products manufacturing. The “complex” surrounding herbal medicines and other natural products only serve as a pointer to the fact that traditional health practices and formulations have a significant role to play in tackling health challenges as well as bridging health inequalities. This is especially the case for Sub-Saharan Africa which has the highest poverty level coupled with struggling national healthcare delivery systems amidst very rich biodiversity ecosystems.

Africa presents a veritable treasure of cultural and genetics resources, including medicinal plants. Many of our present medicines are derived directly or indirectly from medicinal plants and it is estimated that about 25% of the drugs prescribed worldwide are derived from plants. While several classic plant drugs may have lost ground to synthetic competitors, many others have gained a new investigational or therapeutical status in recent years. Of the total 252 drugs in WHO’s essential medicine list, 11% is exclusively of plant origin. In addition, a number of novel plant-derived substances have entered into Western markets, and the global herbal/natural products market has been steady on the rise.

Nearly 80% of African and Asian populations depend on traditional medicines for their primary healthcare. Plant natural products also play an important role in the health care system of the remaining 20% of world population who reside mainly in the developed countries

Clinical plant-based research has made particularly rewarding progress in the important fields of antimalarial (e.g. artemisinin), anticancer (e.g. taxoids and camptothecins) and metabolic disorder (includes diabetes etc.) therapies, and these are the leading causes of death in West Africa. Natural products can make substantial contributions to health care delivery and general wellness. Their use in the former has however met with various challenges bothered on acceptability, failed perception, quality control and dosage.  HerbFEST aims to tackle such challenges and as well showcase our rich biodiversity and research results.

With a view to help stimulate the natural products and bio-business industrial sub-sector and improve the health sector in Nigeria and the ECOWAS sub-region, Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme(BDCP), a non-governmental non-profit organization, in collaboration with the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), also a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, and the International Centre for Ethnomedicine and Drug Development (InterCEDD), a private research and development Centre, seek to organize a natural products expo, HerbFEST 2016.

HerbFEST is an annual, regional, natural products expo with the mission to bring together a wide range of stakeholders (academia, policy makers-private and government as well as political heads, entrepreneurs, companies, practitioners-traditional and orthodox, general public, research institutions, investors/financial institutions) actively involved in the use, research, promotion and development of herbal and natural products. Each expo is complemented by a workshop to enhance technical capacity in the industry, provide and elicit policy support, share experiences, promote ingenuity and stimulate investment/partnerships.

HerbFEST 2016 is designed to provide emerging natural products manufacturers, including herbal medicine, functional foods, health and beauty products companies, as well as raw materials exporters an opportunity to showcase their innovative new products and technologies to manufacturers representatives, wholesalers, distributors, capital providers, pharmaceutical industry representatives, biotechnology/biomedical companies, government agencies and consumers.

The overall goal of HerbFEST is to showcase our achievements, research results, rich biodiversity and investment opportunities to the world and enhance the patronage/recognition, productive capacity and income status of small producers.

This will be achieved through a combination of exhibition andmarket promotion, enterprise development, presentations and scientific sessions, and training sessions. Unlike the old perception that natural products are being used only by the poor and that herbal and traditional medicines/medicinal products are often administered by herbalists or traditional medicine practitioners who perform some spiritual rituals and incantations, times have moved way ahead of that. Their role in healthcare has been relegated to the background mostly due to this wrong perception and this workshop seeks to correct such impression and bring to fore the role of these products and practitioners and research scientists/agencies in healthcare delivery. In addition, the workshop would include capacity building aimed at improving the processes involved in the preparation and administration of such herbs/products.

The Expo presents great opportunities for small and medium enterprises seeking knowledge/training, marketing opportunities, partnership and funding for food, herbal and natural development in Nigeria and the sub-Saharan region. Other beneficiaries include Traditional Medicine Practitioners and Indigenous healers, Research Institutes, Conservationists, Academia, Media and importantly, Investors.

The exhibition will feature a wide range of products and services in the herbal, health and natural products fields. The industry focus is on companies or entrepreneurs with products and technologies in any of the following fields:





viii)      EQUIPMENT, fabrications and services


The theme for this year’s herbFest is “Food as Medicine: African Herbs and Spices as functional foods and Nutraceuticals

The symposium will feature the following sections:

Bioactive metabolites from medicinal plants

Commercial cultivation, research and development of Moringaoleifera in Nigeria

Biopotency role of culinary spices and herbs and their chemical constituents in health.

Health benefits of herbs and spices: the past, present and future

Safety assessment of botanicals and botanical preparations for use in food and supplements.

The theme for HerbFEST 2016 training is the ““Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for Herbal Medicinal products.

Companies in related fields are invited to sponsor this session and 30 minutes will be given to each to use in promoting and showcasing their products and services.

Individuals/Entrepreneurs, Practitioners, Organizations and Producers considering innovative management practices and production will use the knowledge gathered from the training, symposium and interactions to map out strategies for taking advantage of new opportunities such as medicinal and health foods used in healthcare and wellness, becoming health counselors, on-and-off farm processing, small and medium scale production of herbal and natural products, direct marketing and rural tourism.

Other output from this project will include the following:

Role of health foods, medicinal plants/products and natural products in healthcare re-established and promoted.

New natural products introduced to the market, and strategies for doing so learned.

Export/import opportunities promoted and bio-business introduced as a poverty alleviation and health promotion venture

Long term framework for a biennial natural products expo in the sub-region, established.

Equitable bio-partnerships between and among West African natural products companies, entrepreneurs, researchers as well as financing organizations, developed.

Project document on broad strategies for development of a biodiversity business sector in the sub-region, developed.

Database containing profiles of natural products companies in the sub-region, developed.

Educational opportunity provided to a wide range of stakeholders including the public.


Venue: City Global Hotel Owerri, Imo State

Date: 11th-13th October 2016

Time: 10 am


For enquiries:





Ugochi Uwandu

Programme  Officer I /Executive Assistant