Severe drought ravaging Namibia is dwindling the production of essential oils in Kunene region in the northwestern part of the country.

Uerira Tjiveze, the facility processing manager, said Friday that community harvesters are struggling to supply adequate Commiphora wildii, critical for the manufacturing of essential oils following a dry spell.

Historically, the indigenous OvaHimba women have used Commiphora wildii as their traditional perfume. Today, the resin collected from the plant is used to create fragrance sold worldwide.

Commiphora wildii harvesting has become a source of income for communities, who are paid directly for the harvest they supply. Harvesters use the money to buy food and meet other household needs.

According to Tjiveze, in the last three years, the manufacturing of essential oils has, however, drastically decreased to just 45 bottles from 100 bottles per month.

“The constant drought and unpredictable patterns of rainfall impeded the trade. We cannot get the items (harvest) if there is no rain,” she said.

The plant is currently relying on stored supply and other internal arrangements to preserve raw ingredients.

“Even though we can produce essential oils, production in terms of numbers, is, however, below targets,” Tjiveze said.

In the meantime, if the dry spell persists, she said that the company’s operations might be negatively impacted, as can community harvesters’ sales and livelihoods. Enditem

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