CAR, a quality Artemisia sector

Trained as a nurse and with a Masters in Public Health, Lucie Peters was quickly drawn to the world of international solidarity. The Central African Republic became her adopted country. She first worked there as coordinator of a health centre, before meeting her husband and heading up the CAR Artemisia House for a year and a half. Interview.

Why did you choose to start working in the Central African Republic?

I always wanted to work in the field of international solidarity. I went to the CAR as a volunteer through the Development Cooperation Service, which put me in touch with an Italian association to be both a nurse and the coordinator of a health centre. I arrived to find four empty walls and was told: “This is the health centre, everything needs to be set up”. So I rolled up my sleeves and became a nurse, coordinator, logistician and human resources manager all rolled into one. Today, and I’m very happy about this, the centre is running smoothly.

At the same time, I’ve always been interested in plants. When I was there in 2015, I got in touch with Jean-Denis Ngobo to personally take Artemisia tea to prevent malaria. Jean-Denis had received Artemisia annua seeds from the Artemisia House in France. He had managed to grow them on his plot of land in Bangui at PK 13 on the Damara road, and was now in charge of production and marketing.

Then in 2017, I took a more professional interest in the project. I carried out a project at the Artemisia House on changes in the incidence of malaria in the village of Lubile, DRC. At the same time, I was going back and forth between France and the CAR, because I had met my future husband there. I then worked for MSF for six months in Bangui before getting fully involved in the Artemisia Centre in CAR for a year and a half.

What was the driving force behind your commitment to developing the Artemisia House in Bangui?

For me, the driving force was the incredible impact of this accessible, local, easy-to-use and effective solution, with measurable and tangible results for the population. I was determined to help reduce the incidence of malaria in the Central African Republic using this plant.

The Artemisia House in Central Africa was set up in 2019 with a small team. But it had trouble getting off the ground because Artemisia was only produced by one person. During my annual trips to the CAR, I organised awareness-raising events, mainly in churches, and worked on structuring the association, motivating the team, updating knowledge, packaging the herbal teas, selling them in pharmacies, and so on.

One thing led to another and I was able to carry out a huge amount of work with Paul, who is a grower. I couldn’t have done anything without him. We each devoted ourselves to our talents, relying on each other. Paul for the agronomic part and me for the network structuring.

But we also needed to attract trained and competent people, which we were able to do, not least because I am well integrated in Bangui and speak Sango. So we put together a team. We guided everyone to focus on their skills, according to their profile. Today, the Bangui team is truly exceptional and we have all worked hard together for 2023 and 2024.

Specifically, what have you done?

We have created a quality Artemisia sector in Bangui (cultivation, processing, marketing). Everyone involved in this value chain is now paid.

Two farmers now produce Artemisia: one produces Artemisia annua and the other Artemisia afra. Two others are in the process of setting up their fields and testing Artemisia cultivation. Visits and follow-up are organised with them.

The range of complementary products has been developed. Tests have been carried out on syrups, sweets, candles, creams, whipped cream and soaps… The creams and soaps are now marketed and there are currently six sales outlets in Bangui.

The quality of the packaging has been improved: exact grammage, integration of all the stems, presentation of the packets, introduction of batch numbering for which the producers have been trained, introduced in July 2023. The Artemisia House France has contributed to the construction of the processing workshop and the purchase of protective equipment (gloves, masks, aprons, etc.).


At the same time, we’ve carried out a number of public awareness campaigns, reaching around 7,000 people. Today, it’s common to hear people call us “Mr or Mrs Artemisia” in the street and to meet people who know about the plant.

We have organised 10 training sessions, mainly in Bangui, and obtained recognition and support from national institutions. At the same time, we are developing scientific research into the plant, in particular with the Pasteur Institute in Bangui. And we have entered into a number of partnerships.

The team on the ground is highly motivated, and our communications manager is also doing an admirable job, but there are still many difficulties.

sensibilisation in medical centre

What are these difficulties?

Firstly, the cost of living, because the country is landlocked, but also because of inflation, partly due to the massive presence of international institutions, which distort the market. This has a major impact on our activities, for example in terms of printing for awareness-raising materials, raw materials for the workshop, and transport, which is very expensive. In a country where you don’t know whether you’ll have enough to eat the next day, and where the war is not coming back, it’s difficult to plan for the medium to long term. It should be remembered that living conditions in Bangui and the surrounding area are extremely difficult: very limited access to water and electricity, regular power cuts, vulnerability of the population, illness, deaths, and so on.

These difficulties unbalance the day-to-day organisation and programming of our Artemisia House. I’d really like to pay tribute to the magnificent work of the team on the ground, and the role played by each and every one of them.

Today, I’m no longer on site, but I’m still a member of the CAR Artemisia House and I’m present remotely for on-site monitoring. Our team is solid, but it needs to continue its partnerships, as well providing a solid network to deal with local difficulties.

Lucie and Paul