Rooibos Ltd helps to turn IPUF-SEB conference into a success

On 28 June this year, more than 220 delegates gathered in Clanwilliam for the joint conference of the USA-based Society for Economic Botany (SEB) (hosting its 56th annual conference) and the Indigenous Plant Use Forum (IPUF) (hosting its 18th annual confrerence). A full programme of speakers, poster presentations and workshops awaited the delegates. In the last joint session the IPUF keynote speaker, Prof Hüsnü Baser, provided a perspective of aromatic plants and essential oils, while Prof Daniel Moerman concluded the conference as the SEB distinguished botanist. A field trip to Rooibos Ltd's processing and packaging plant formed part of the programme.

The Society for Economic Botany (SEB) explores the uses of plants and relationship between plants, cultures and our environment. Established in 1959, SEB's mission is to encourage scientific research, education and related activities on the uses of plants, and the relationship between plants and people, and to make the results of such research available to the scientific community and the general public.

The Indigenous Plant Use Forum (IPUF) was started to "promote the cultural, socio-economic and scientific benefits to be derived from the sustainable use of the southern African flora". The annual symposia are unique, multicultural and multi-disciplinary events that serve as a meeting point for business people, academics, anthropologists, resource managers, conservationists, policy makers and anyone interested in the sustainable use of the southern African flora.

A total of 23 countries were represented with 98 oral presentations which included one invited keynote speaker, a video presentation and a distinguished botanist speaker. A total of 66 posters were presented.

The conference also served as a platform where local and foreign delegates could network, share knowledge and discuss the possibility of joint research and projects. Clanwilliam's "Rooibos country", a visit to Rooibos Ltd's facilities and a Rooibos farm – Zeekoeivlei, a typical South African braai, a Riel dance performance and a gala dinner formed part of the delegates' itinerary.

Find more details at www.econbot.org.