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Women, Income-generating Activities and the Conservation of Natural Resources: Medicinal, Culinary and Aromatic Plants in the Sudan

Publication date: 
Sunday, December 1, 2002
Author: 
M. Y. Elkhalifa
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This paper presents information on the role of Sudanese medicinal, culinary and aromatic plants in the conservation of natural resources and in the generation of income for rural women. In most parts of the Sudan women constitute the principal labor force for both cash crops and food production. Women's role in the agricultural labor force increased during a period of economic hardship, resulting from natural and man-made disasters, in the 1990s. During this period, a massive migration of men from rural areas to the city occurred, leaving many women to head households and assume the primary responsibilities of household food security. In the Sudan, traditional medicine plays an important role. Their unique indigenous knowledge of herbs led to the development of numerous general health and preventative remedies. To fully understand the important role of traditional medicine in the Sudan, it is important to note that only 11 per cent of the population has access to formal medical care; the majority of the population's main medical source is traditional and herbal medicine. Thus, home remedies are readily available in virtually every Sudanese home, including those in the cities where access to modern medical care is available.

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