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Title: The transformation of traditional Asian medical knowledge into international commodities : the link between traditional medicines and the international market
Author: Booker, A. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 2321
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Aims and Objectives Medicinal plant value chains have been overlooked compared with food commodities. Revenue generation tends to be weighted towards the retail end of the chain and consequently the farm labourers, farmers and processors (primary producers) are the lowest beneficiaries. This project aims to investigate medicinal plant value chains and interpret the impact different value chains have on the livelihoods of primary producers in developing countries and for the first time analytically assess the quality implications for the manufacturers and end users in Europe. Methodological Approach Case studies were undertaken on three separate sites in India. Data was gathered on medicinal plant value chains by means of semi-structured interviews and non-participant observations. Samples were collected from locations in India, China, Europe and the USA and analysed using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and high performance thin layer chromatography. Results There were benefits for primary producers that belonged to a vertically integrated value chain and resulting products were subject to a higher standard of processing and storage. The analysis demonstrated that there was variation in the chemical composition of the samples tested and that products obtained from a vertically integrated value chain were more similar chemically to fresh turmeric rhizomes than other samples tested. Conclusions Using analytical methods, it was possible to correlate important variations in product composition for selected samples and identify strengths and weaknesses of some key value chains. Through establishing direct contracts with farmers in India, the vertically integrated value chain investigated was able to exert greater control over cultivation and manufacturing processes than found in other chains. Consequently the vertically integrated value chain is able to produce a higher quality product than generally found on the market. This results in a value addition that was passed back down the chain for the benefit of the primary producers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available