REGIONAL GROUP REPORTS
Appendix 6.1 Africa
Appendix 6.2 Asia - Continental
Appendix 6.3 Asia - Insular and the Pacific
Appendix 6.4 Latin America
Appendix 6.5 Donors/Development Assistance Agencies
Many socio-economic problems relate to the use, development,
and management of non-wood forest products (NWFPs). The theme paper clearly
examines these and helps to ensure that NWFPs and their development are
firmly placed in the context of livelihood systems, rather than viewing
their development as merely a process of identifying products, developing
markets, and improving processing technologies. The following group report
starts from the discussion section of Arnold's paper, which highlights
"four sets of issues that appear to be of particular importance", and examines
these from an African perspective. Many of the following suggestions represent
merely a shift in emphasis.
In identifying key issues for Africa, the following are key factors:
Communal land ownership and widespread common property regimes are the
Colonial and post-independence governments have undermined traditional
and social structures. There have been great changes in decision-making
structures, making strategies for local and community management of forest
A larger proportion of Africa's population lives in rural areas compared
to other regions. Subsistence uses of NWFPs remain very important. Declines
in agricultural productivity have led to the increased importance of other
activities, including those based on NWFPs.
Poverty is endemic, and the related issues highlighted in Arnold's paper
are particularly important. There is also the need to examine the macro-economic
framework related to poverty.
Insecurity and risk, both economic and environmental, are perennial
problems. NWFPs play important roles in people's strategies to cope with
Much of Africa has woodlands and savannas under sub-humid and semi-arid
conditions; thus we must beware of generalising findings from more humid
Africa possesses widespread and important systems based on grazing/pastoral
and wildlife systems, which hold unique opportunities and constraints related
Africa faces widespread weaknesses in institutions and infrastructure.
Issues that Require Attention
Recognition of the Full Range of Benefits and Values of Forests and
Trees, and not Exclusive Focus on Income Generation Potential
Addressing this would require documentation and valuation of subsistence
use (including use of NWFPs for risk aversion), cultural and spiritual
values, and ecotourism/recreation values. We need to understand the processes
involved in the despiritualisation and deculturalisation of people. An
analysis of related downstream economic activities (e.g. leather, meat,
and bone industries ultimately derived from forage) and their attributable
linkage to resource base should be incorporated in any valuation.
Current analyses of value of NWFPs still tend to view people as mere
links in a technological process. We should increasingly empower local
communities through participatory methodologies.
More attention needs to be focused on the methodological and conceptual
framework for valuation, and ways to develop inventories of NWFP resources.
Equitable Access to NWFP resources
Arnold's paper (Appendix 4.1.1) discusses the need to identify the beneficiaries
of commercialisation, stressing the need to identify differences based
on wealth status and gender. The Group further recognised the need to identify
inequities that arise due to ethnic and rural-urban divisions. For example,
development of NWFPs in Botswana could benefit the Bakalagadi, to the disadvantage
of the San!; many other examples of conflicts exist between pastoralists
and settled farmers.
Diminishing Access to Supplies
We should not only recognise logging and agricultural expansion as driving
forces determining NWFP supply, but be aware that in Africa, droughts cause
cyclical patterns of supply.
In the face of diminishing resource supplies, increasing amounts
of NWFPs are derived from on-farm sources. While this is also true in sub-humid
and semi-arid systems, it occurs to a lesser extent than in humid systems.
Tenure and Control
Due to the predominance of common property regimes in much of Africa,
this set of issues contains some of the most important ones to be considered
in developing NWFPs. The relationship between commercialisation and its
potential negative impacts needs to be explored, as the breakdown may often
lead to uncontrolled extraction, and an emerging conflict between extraction
The theme paper generalises that breakdown of common property regimes
often leads to privatisation of the resource, with much of NWFP production
then taking place on-farm or in bush-fallow. While the privatisation trend
may occur, the sustainable level of supply from on-farm sources is probably
lower in semi-arid and sub-humid systems. Furthermore, the trend to privatise
is not universal: several cases document a renewed interest in community
management. For example, communities in Ghana have attempted to reassert
their control over forest patches outside government forests; likewise,
communities in some wildlife areas have developed strong institutional
arrangements to control wildlife resource.
Regulation and Support
Much of Arnold's paper looks at regulation and support mechanisms to
improve the income-generating capacity of NWFPs. The Group agreed that
such mechanisms have to be considered to ensure the sustainability of NWFPs
for subsistence and risk aversion.
At a broader level, it is necessary to understand the macro-economic
framework within which NWFPs are utilised and commercialised, including:
land policies and their relationship to tenure regimes;
economic policies, such as Structural Adjustment, which can result in
rapid changes in the utilisation of NWFPs due to, for example, removal
of subsidies and trade barriers, or changing exchange rates;
international policies that influence trade (e.g. CITES ban on trade
in ivory, and EU beef policy resulting in changes in West African cattle
systems) and commodity pricing.
PROCESSING AND MARKETING
A number of elements that need stressing in the African context include,
among others, the following:
NWFPs play a very important role in the subsistence economy, so when
discussing the development of NWFPs we should not concentrate on income-generating
NWFPs are largely traded in the informal sector, so our discussion and
recommendations should not be focused on national and international trade
in the formal sector.
African governments have dominated the national and international markets,
but this situation is changing rapidly, creating new opportunities and
Markets are very changeable (e.g. in relation to international pressures
and problems of supply during droughts). Risk-aversion strategies for markets
In general, we should beware of a product focus or bias; there is need
to ensure that the discussion and recommendation take into account the
Wildlife is a major sub-sector in Africa; wildlife could provide substantial
benefits to local people and forestry institutions.
Information on harvesting and processing techniques that ensure high-quality
products and cost-effectiveness must reach producers.
Marketing information needs to reach producers, so they can integrate
their activities into the marketing chain and gain leverage with other
links in the marketing chain. It is especially important to have this information
to take full advantage of "green consumerism". It is important that marketing
efforts are not confined to existing products but that these efforts are
coupled with a continuous product and market exploration process. Market
information should reflect local business aims, and not only the interests
of third-party institutions.
The statistical base on NWFP trade at all levels (including international
standards and the effect of international trade agreements and fluctuations)
and production needs to be improved and communicated to producer groups.
There is an urgent requirement to document indigenous technical practices
(e.g. the many fermentation techniques that are largely unknown by technocrats).
Intellectual property rights (IPR) with regards to traditional uses
of plants and traditional processing techniques need to be protected.
Financial and Infrastructural Requirements
Simple tools can have major positive effects on efficiency of harvesting
and processing, and thus can relieve labour bottlenecks, especially for
The availability of credit is a major constraint to small-scale producers,
traders, and processors. Governments need to review policies so as to provide
financial support to this sectors.
NWFPs must be recognized as a sub-sector in its own right. And, economic
instruments, for example, should be placed on the same level as those for
other agricultural commodities.
Policy development needs to take place within the sub-sectors of wildlife
and tourism, so as to ensure that benefit reach the local people.
Techniques and tools for post-harvesting and processing need to be developed
to ensure high-quality products, and to capture value at the local level.
The latter is of greater priority.
Storage techniques require more attention as a risk-averting strategy.
Our knowledge of the informal sector needs to be expanded so that we
can identify support mechanisms.
We need to establish criteria for assessing the performance of the marketing
system. Three sets of criteria are suggested, those related to: i) efficiency
(the ability of markets to match supply and demand); ii) equity (the need
to ensure a symmetric distribution of information among market participants);
and iii) progressiveness (i.e. Are market participants changing marketing
Adding Value Locally
In addition to the relevant points above, the Group noted:
The need to ensure continuity of supply;
The need for an organisation to be identified that can facilitate value
The need to establish pilot-scale processing facilities (e.g. through
national institutions and UNIDO) and to encourage local entrepreneurship.
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND ENVIRONMENT
The African continent has seen a steady decline of its forest cover.
An estimated 4.1 million ha of forest (about 0.7 percent of the land area)
disappeared just in the period 1981-90. This rapid decline of all forest
types will have serious implications on strategies for sustainable management
and development of NWFPs.
Key Problems and Recommendations
Recommendation: Formal forestry training should recognize
the considerable traditional knowledge about the multiple functions of
NWFPs within the forest environment. Likewise, research on the environmental
impact of NWFP harvesting should proceed in cooperation with the harvesters
and processors themselves.
The environmental role of NWFPs in the forest ecosystem has been largely
ignored by foresters and researchers.
Recommendation: Techniques for measuring the environmental
impact of NWFP harvesting (for example, the "willingness to pay approach")
need to be refined and applied to improve the African countries' existing
environmental impact assessment procedures.
Methodologies for natural resource accounting are poorly developed and
problematic, but they are still important tools to assist decision-makers
in the natural resource sector. The valuation of NWFPs is particularly
important as it more closely reflects the value of forests to communities
and the national economies.
Where particularly important habitats for rare or heavily exploited
NWFPs share international boundaries, regional cooperation in their management
and protection is needed.
Resource Management and Development
Tenure and usufruct rights are necessary ingredients for local people's
sustainable management of the NWFP resource. Governments need to demonstrate
greater commitment to tenure reforms which encourage people's participation
in NWFP management.
A comprehensive national strategy for the management and development
of NWFPs appropriately covering resource inventory, harvesting and processing,
utilization and marketing, research and extension support, training and
institutional arrangements is an urgent need. This is an issue to be raised
by FAO at the Rome Ministerial Meeting and to the Commission on Sustainable
Local communities must be fully involved in planning and implementing
strategies to manage their NWFP resources on a sustainable basis.
Existing conventional forest management systems should draw lessons
from indigenous management experiences in developing management systems
to sustain NWFPs.
NWFP inventories are a critical tool for sustainable management. These
inventories should be designed to meet specific management objectives.
Forest inventories to monitor growth and conditions of the NWFP resource
are needed. While this may involve national survey teams, it also must
involve local NWFP users.
Because of the fragility of arid ecosystems, regular ecosystem monitoring
should be an essential part of NWFP management practice in these areas.
Forest user communities should be supported to inventory and assess
the NWFP resources which they use and manage. Experience in Ghana has shown
that communities can survey their resources and this process engenders
a strong sense of stewardship.
Communities should be encouraged to share the costs and benefits of
managing NWFP resources, alongside government or other management agencies.
Experience in Morocco has demonstrated that this can be a successful way
of sustaining NWFPs.
NWFP supplies have to be understood in terms of the interface between
agriculture and forestry. In West Africa, for example, the bush fallow
has been the major source of most commonly exploited NWFPs. Degradation
of fallow land as a result of fire, reduced fallow length, and new weed
species are all having major impacts on NWFP supplies, and causing forests
to be more heavily exploited for subsistence uses of NWFPs.
There is urgent need for research to develop new harvesting technologies,
especially where the whole plant is destroyed to extract a particular product.
Research should document the ethno-pharmacology of African plants at
national and regional levels.
The Group suggests that a manual be prepared on NWFPs of the countries
of Africa. This manual should contain data on species distribution, bio-data,
domestication potentials, traditional and commercial values, processing
technologies, markets and management of the resource. A special section
should include methodologies for motivating communities to develop their
own strategies to utilize and manage their forest resources on a sustainable
Medicinal plants should be screened for their active ingredients and
to verify their pharmacological properties.
Domestication strategies for locally-important NWFPs should build from
the existing experiments and initiatives of farmers.
Low-cost innovative domestication strategies should be encouraged. For
example, in Botswana, a nation-wide search for superior varieties of indigenous
fruit trees was carried out through a school competition programme.
Methods need to be developed for increasing and sustaining widely exploited
NWFP resources through enrichment of secondary forests and timber plantations.
This offers an intermediate strategy between management of NWFPs in natural
forests and domestication in farming systems.
Local NGOs should play a critical role in advocating government policy
reforms to promote sustainable NWFP management and development. International
NGOs should support this process.
National industrialization policies and programmes should include development
of NWFP-based industries.
Some widely exploited NWFPs are of regional importance (e.g. cork).
Domestication and semi-domestication can be encouraged to maintain the
source species throughout its range.
It is essential that African institutions involved in R&D be strong
and can act flexibly in response to changes in international markets, natural
disasters, dramatic developments in the macro-economic environment and
changing needs of local communities.
The Group also notes that progress in NWFP development has been slow
and uneven. Very poor linkages exist between researchers, policy-makers,
managers and communities.
Policy and Legislation
The Group stressed again the importance and fundamental role of
policy, legislation and regulations. These should be inspired by local
practices, cultures and needs; their formulation should benefit from the
inputs of various sections of the society. National and regional level
review exercises of existing policies to assess their support to local
community participation, equity in participation, land tenure aspects,
etc., are needed; these reviews should be conducted with grassroots participation,
and with due sensitivity to African cultural and spiritual heritage (e.g.
using customary rules as a basis for policy), and giving adequate emphasis
for environmental considerations in policies (e.g. ensuring environmental
impact measurement of activities).
Policies are fragmented, sometime contradictory, not enabling and often
inflexible. The Group recognized that some of the objectives in the promotion
of NWFPs are difficult to conciliate: objectives such as promoting community
participation, ensuring conservation objectives and encouraging entrepreneurship.
There is a need to look forward, with the benefits gained from hindsight
and lessons learned from successful experiences as well as failures. For
example, there has been spectacular progress with certain resource management
schemes and products (e.g. wildlife in Southern Africa). But it is found
that too little analysis is made of their past successes and failures.
Greater attention to policy analysis and research is needed.
There has been international interference in national policies (e.g.
CITES policies and global research policies). It is recommended that greater
attention be given to the development of national policies (e.g. Science
policies, Forestry policies), well focused to national needs and not to
suit the agenda of donors.
Research and Development
The nations of Africa need strong research organisations, but
instead they are characterized by understaffing, unmotivated personnel
and high turnover. The fundamental problem is poor salaries and low research
budgets. National governments and donors need to come up with creative
mechanisms to ensure that good scientists remain within national research
institutions and can devote themselves fully to their work. The Group recommended
that research budgets be derived partly from export earnings of forest
products, fixed on a percentage basis; also a percentage of the budgets
of development projects could be earmarked for applied and adaptive research
to directly support development activities.
Regarding training, the Group recommended that national training policies
be developed, to ensure an appropriate mix of skills. Wherever possible
this training should be done in-country or within the region.
Cultural and Spiritual Heritage
There has been a despiritualisation of African culture. Africa now has
a new cadre of scientists with little links to realities in rural areas
and to African heritage. The number of African anthropologists are limited,
to be able to impregnate social valves in the scientific and technical
realm. A number of reorientations and adjustments are needed which are
relevant to the development of local resources, products and benefits responding
to real needs of societies. Hence, i) researchers should maintain strong
linkages with real life and conditions at field level; ii) local knowledge,
craft/skills and values should be incorporated in science and development.
The Group noted a general lack of political will to implement policies
that are widely accepted as socially just and environmentally friendly.
The Group recommended that i) scientists provide more easily-accessible
information materials to politicians; ii) that all aspects of development
and research be depoliticised; iii) scientists, especially those heading
research institutions endeavour to better reach politicians to promote
their support to research agendas and programmes; and iv) donor agencies
devise mechanisms to ensure that their activities are politically correct,
and well focused on the real needs of societies.
The Group recommended that some institutions experienced in selected
domains be identified and co-opted as regional resource centres (e.g. Veld
Products Research in Botswana). Also it recommended that learned societies,
such as the African Academy of Sciences, be given greater support. Such
regional institutions could assist in providing information on regional
issues such as development opportunities and markets; networking; providing
resource persons; conducting research and acting as a conduit for funding.
The present efforts to support forestry research and related networking
in Africa should be accelerated.
ASIA - CONTINENTAL
An adequate database does not exist on socio-economic benefits of non-wood
forest products (NWFPs) in the region. There is a need to develop a system
of collecting information on resource extent, quality, uses, and values.
Government policy needs to be reoriented towards sustainable management
of NWFP resources by:
properly accounting for the contribution of NWFPs in national economies
enhancing the budgetary, investment, and pricing mechanisms in the area
A systems approach should be adopted in the analysis of issues and approaches
to NWFPs development.
granting local organisations (e.g. user groups, cooperatives) a greater
say in management of the resource.
This issue needs to be addressed at four levels:
At each level the specific issues identified and possible initiatives
recommended to deal with the issues are as follows:
end-users including related institutions.
Primary collectors are not getting due share of the total benefits accruing
from the NWFPs.
Government initiatives are inadequate or counterproductive.
Organise communities in user groups and/or cooperatives through active
government agency or NGO support.
Revise policies to assure access rights to the poor and marginalized
groups through user groups or cooperatives.
Provide information on resource inventory, management alternatives,
market facilities, and price information to the producers/collectors.
Facilitate development of appropriate post-harvest technologies.
Organise/develop primary processing and packaging near the production/harvesting
areas, especially in inaccessible mountain areas.
Develop information systems for biological monitoring and ecological
sustainability of NWFP resources.
Protect the rights and interest of women and disadvantaged groups in
managing the NWFPs.
Middlemen and other agents are taking disproportionate share of benefits
and there is a perception that they exploit the collectors.
Identify types of intermediaries and their roles at different levels.
Create transparency in their dealings.
Weaken/restrict trade monopolies through actions by government and NGOs.
Availability and choice of technology is poorly understood.
Emphasise employment generation and achieving livelihood security.
Use cost-effectiveness criteria in selecting appropriate technologies.
Encourage final processors to invest in R&D support in field-level
Develop mechanisms for re-investing part of the revenue earned from
NWFP-based enterprises in biodiversity/resource conservation.
End-Users and Related Agencies
Unstable market prices and inadequate information.
Develop inter- and intra-state coordination to develop NWFP market and
Encourage national and international donor agencies to transfer appropriate
technology for NWFP processing.
Provide adequate market and price information to capture the real cost
and values of NWFPs.
The major issue is that the current NWFP management approach is product-oriented
rather than resource-oriented.
Biological criteria of sustainable management of NWFPs for multiple
use values need to be adopted.
Socio-economic basis of sustainable use of resources needs analysis
and better understanding.
Ex situ conservation and domestication should be promoted wherever
needed to achieve biodiversity conservation and sustainable management.
Tenurial rights and access to resources are not well defined and ownership
rights are not available to the forest based communities.
Benefit from biodiversity prospecting by interest groups does not flow
Review existing tenurial, access, use, and biodiversity prospecting
rights and modify them as appropriate to benefit the communities and lead
to sustainable use of resources.
Generally current regulations including movement of NWFPs are complicated
and do not support community-initiated NWFPs development.
Government policies need to be reviewed and improved to address this
PROCESSING AND MARKETING
Primary production, processing, marketing and trade are interlinked
activities. There are variations in methods of processing and approaches
to marketing and trade in the region. There are also large inter- and intra-regional
markets for NWFPs.
In general, processing and marketing activities are not very organised.
Primary producers are not receiving due benefits.
Information and technology flow among the three stages - gathering/collection,
processing, and end use - are not adequately developed.
Inadequate policy environment affects the processing, marketing,
and trade of NWFPs.
Key issues identified and initiatives proposed are the following:
Lack of effective organisations of collectors to gain access to knowledge
about resource stocks, processes, and markets with which they could enhance
their bargaining power.
Lack of quality control and certification for NWFPs at the primary producer
Lack of investment capital, financial support and incentives.
Inadequate processing technologies for multiple products.
- adaptation of simple technologies;
Develop mechanisms/agencies/institutions at appropriate levels for:
- organisation of information systems and dissemination of knowledge
at all levels;
- quality control and certification in accordance with types of markets;
- appropriate environmental guidelines to promote environmentally
suitable processing and monitoring activities;
- organised supply of raw materials at the local level through balancing
of government policies concerning in situ and ex situ production/conservation
Processing facilities to be developed near raw material sources.
Markets and Trade
Inadequate product promotion and marketing practices.
Fluctuations in national and international markets, and risks and uncertainties
associated with NWFPs marketing at those levels.
Lack of an early warning system on threats of synthetic substitutes
Inadequate marketing skills and lack of strategies for human resource
Create database on markets and disseminate the information appropriately.
Action by government agencies, NGOs and others to increase awareness
of product values, uses, quality standards, and environmental implications
through national and international trade fairs, publicity and other means.
Strengthen R&D infrastructure to face the possible developments
in synthetics and NWFP substitutes.
Facilitate maintenance of raw material sources in order to ensure sustainable
and stable supply, depending on types of NWFPs.
Promote product diversification.
Strengthen appropriate organisations to support capacity-development
at all levels.
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND ENVIRONMENT
Almost all forests in continental Asia are being utilised at varying
levels of intensity. Changes in forest management will therefore have implications
on community welfare and sustainability.
Resource management for NWFPs should first be oriented toward meeting
local needs; once these are met, commercial prospects can be explored.
For large-scale commercial use, the focus needs to be
ex situ cultivation.
The objective of NWFP resource management should be sustained multiple
use; and management systems should be geared toward this objective.
Wildlife-based NWFPs are relatively less important in this region.
However wilderness-based services such as ecotourism and biodiversity prospecting
remain important and have considerable development potential.
Unprecedented pressures on forest resources, caused due to growing
population, often lead to over-harvesting and unsustainable uses. Experience
has shown that resource management through participatory approaches can
greatly help integrated and sustainable management of NWFP resources.
Key issues identified and proposed initiative are given below:
Methodologies for assessing NWFP resources are not fully developed and
have been applied to only a few commercially important species.
Assessment methods are expensive and time-consuming, and trained human
resources and financial resources are lacking.
There are gaps between assessments of resources at different spatial
and temporal levels and scales.
Prioritize NWFP resources for assessment based on community perceptions,
biological potentials, and market demand.
Develop, standardize and disseminate methodologies/techniques in appropriate
packages for rapid assessment.
Develop cost-effective assessment methods, suitable curricula and training
capabilities for human resource development.
Encourage coordination among researchers/institutions working on different
spatial and temporal scales through the use of modern techniques such as
geographic information system (GIS).
Management of NWFP resources is not incorporated in existing resource
management systems, which are biased toward timber. As a result, management
know-how for sustainable utilisation of NWFPs has not been adequately developed.
Existing management systems do not adequately incorporate indigenous
resource management knowledge and skills.
Research in the fields of natural regeneration, management, and harvesting
of NWFPs is inadequate.
Suitable training materials, courses, and out-reach mechanisms are lacking.
There are no mechanisms for resolving conflicts between competing users
There is not enough ex situ cultivation to meet growing demands
for NWFPs in cases where demand outstrips forest-based supply.
Risks in investment on ex situ production and export of NWFPs
due to changing government policies and risks associated with monoculture
Lack of regional coordination in prioritization and utilisation of NWFP
Incorporate NWFP management in existing management plans and make use
of the indigenous knowledge-base in future plans.
Develop and strengthen participatory approaches for resource management
through involvement of stakeholders.
Commit financial resources for upgrading research and training facilities
in existing institutions.
Incorporate NWFP species in current and future forest plantations with
a view to support local needs.
Review government policies and make them responsive to the risks associated
with ex situ cultivation with appropriate incentives.
Facilitate networking, information dissemination, and technology transfer
through international agencies such as FAO, and bilateral arrangements.
Depletion of natural stocks, and degradation of eco-systems due to over-exploitation
Lack of understanding of social and economic variables that lead to
judicious and injudicious use of NWFPs.
Lack of government policy initiatives and funding for sustainable development
Lack or inadequacy of indicators to assess environmental impact of NWFP
Facilitate provision of extension support through government organisations
and NGOs to raise awareness of environmental and economic benefits of sustainable
use of NWFPs.
Provide training on improved methods of pre- and post-harvest technologies
Facilitate micro-level planning through forest resource managers with
active participation of stakeholders.
Initiate comprehensive case studies for improved understanding of the
social, cultural and economic variables vis-à-vis use of
Re-orient government policies and programmes to support environmentally
sound NWFP resource management.
Encourage research institutions to develop indicators for environmental
monitoring and strategies for impact assessment of NWFP harvesting.
Designate core protected areas and buffer zones for conservation of
biodiversity in all ecological regions.
In most of Continental Asia, policies, instruments for their implementation,
and related institutions are not conducive to sustainable utilisation of
NWFPs. A fundamental re-orientation in policies, strategies, instruments,
and institutions from the highest to the lowest level is needed to address
the many issues raised.
Legal and socio-economic dimensions of NWFP development need to be
incorporated in this re-orientation.
Research, education, training and extension need to be integrated
in formulating policies and building institutions at operational levels.
Action-oriented research needs special emphasis.
NWFPs need to be recognized as one element of an overall strategy
for rural community development. Spatial priorities need to be set for
NWFP development, emphasising marginalized regions (e.g. mountains and
areas inhabited by ethnic minorities).
Key issues identified and initiatives proposed are as follows:
Lack of clear national policies on utilisation, conservation and management
Existing legislation and regulations are not conducive to NWFP development.
Lack of response in existing institutions to current needs in NWFP development
related to research, training and extension.
Lack of coordination among agencies involved with NWFP development.
Lack of region- and area-specific strategies and guidelines for field
implementation of favourable NWFP development policies.
Lack of complementary policies to strengthen human resource development
in NWFP activities.
Initiatives proposed to be taken by different institutions/organisations
are given below:
Lack of clear policies regarding devolution of authority, and tenurial
and usufruct rights of indigenous groups regarding management and utilisation
of NWFP resources.
Clear national policies need to be formulated through broader participation
of relevant professionals, NGOs and other interest groups.
Enact/evolve support legislation, regulations, strategies, and mechanisms
for ensuring devolution of tenurial and usufruct rights to indigenous groups
and local communities.
Enhance planning/programming capability at different levels, with adequate
budgetary support for NWFP development.
Develop mechanisms for coordinating different sectoral agencies and
their policies through establishment of an appropriate nodal agency, which
will also ensure coordination at regional and international levels.
Government-run institutions related to NWFP development must encourage
a multidisciplinary approach.
The capability of facilitating institutions (e.g. financial, credit,
extension, training, and marketing) needs to be enhanced.
Government policies and strategies should clearly stipulate an enhanced
role for NGOs and local community groups in NWFP development, and provide
a conducive policy and legal framework to facilitate this.
Make it mandatory for the private sector to contribute a portion of
revenue from NWFP processing and marketing to sustainable management of
Encourage the private sector to develop NWFP-related research and development.
Encourage the private sector to provide information regarding production
and marketing of NWFPs.
Local organisations and community groups
Encourage the private sector to undertake ex situ cultivation
of high-demand NWFPs through provision of economic incentives.
Institutionalize participation of community groups through formation
of user groups in the harvesting/collecting process of NWFPs.
Encourage local-level cooperative arrangements in collection, primary
processing, and marketing, in a manner that makes their operations transparent.
Government and NGOs should educate and train community groups to practice
restraint in resource use to conserve NWFP resources.
- training in micro-level planning, technology transfer, and extension
- training in conflict resolution
Provide NGOs with capability to better support communities in NWFP development
Defining Non-Wood Forest Products
Recognizing the urgent need to incorporate NWFPs in the System of National
Accounts, and that no definition can be complete and perfect in a dynamic
and diverse context, the Group proposes the following definition:
Non-wood forest products are primarily non-wood goods and services
of biological origin derived from forest and allied land uses.
Regardless of the definition that may be adopted, the Group feels that
periodic refinement of the definition will be needed to address the changing
Interest groups and agencies may adopt other definitions as appropriate
to their context and requirements.
Regarding a classification system, the Group suggests that the framework
proposed in the related theme paper by Chandrasekharan may be adopted with
provision for periodic revisions.
ASIA - INSULAR AND THE PACIFIC
The Group recognised that the non-wood forest products (NWFPs) sector
is comprised of two major sub-sectors:
commercial exploitation and trade.
It is not uncommon to have a combination of both subsistence and commercial
exploitation for a particular product.
Two major issues of concern for these sub-sectors are resource sustainability
for both subsistence and commercial exploitation and, equitable sharing
of returns from commercial activities associated with NWFPs production
The overriding issue underlying many of the equity distribution and
resource-related problems associated with the NWFPs sector is the low involvement
of households and local communities in decision-making about resource utilisation.
While some of the identified issues discussed below may appear superficially
to be outside the socio-economic aspects of NWFPs, the Group felt that
these issues affected the socio-economic environment of the communities
Equitable distribution of returns. Local communities are not being adequately
compensated for their efforts. In the chain, resource collectors and primary
processors were the most disadvantaged groups in any commercial dealing
and were being grossly underpaid for their products. Profits accruing to
NWFP industries were not being shared adequately with resource gatherers
or local communities.
Resource sustainability. Local communities are experiencing an increasing
scarcity of their natural resources. Resource availability for both subsistence
and commercial exploitation is being jeopardised due to shortcomings in
Community involvement in decision-making. While it is extremely important
to involve farmers and grassroots groups in any decision-making process
concerning the management and utilisation of the forest resource and in
benefits sharing, such involvement hardly exists.
Tenure. Controls imposed by governments as resource owners are often
too restrictive and do not adequately ensure the livelihood of communities.
Often there is confusion about tenure. Local communities assume they own
the land while the government claims legal ownership.
Government regulations. Existing legislation regarding resource utilisation
is too restrictive on households and local communities. There are notable
omissions in legislation with regard to protection of communities in trade.
Forest harvesting and management. There are often conflicts between
local communities and governments over product harvesting and prioritisation
of the product mix. For example, the government objective may be to optimise
wood harvests, while communities may depend heavily on NWFPs for survival
and their livelihood.
Rationalising exploitation. In most situations there is lack of rationalisation
of NWFP exploitation for subsistence vs. commercial purposes. It is important
that only surpluses be traded.
There is inadequate appreciation of the commercial and cultural
values of NWFPs, due to inadequate data. The inability of local communities
to realise a better share of proceeds for some of their products may be
due to a lack of price information. It is not uncommon for government personnel
to be unaware of prevailing prices for these products.
Market orientation. Development efforts for NWFPs must take cognisance
of marketability. Too often, communities are faced with excess supply because
NWFP programmes have been production oriented. In such cases, the communities'
energy would have been better invested in other activities.
Inter-sectoral collaboration. There is insufficient coordination and
cooperation among all parties that have decision-making powers over land
use, resource utilisation, processing and trade. Local communities often
suffer as a result, and are mostly inadequately consulted.
Equitable distribution of returns. Gain a better appreciation of what
is to be more equitably distributed. Enhance the knowledge base on quality
grades, prices, processing, and trading structures for particular products.
Educate collectors/producers on product value and processing options.
It should be ensured that local communities are not displaced as
a result of larger and more powerful plantation activities.
Resource sustainability. Sustainably manage the resource base. Domesticate
the important NWFP plant species. Pursue enrichment planting.
Community involvement in decision-making. Increase empowerment to local
communities in resource use decisions. Participatory development of curricula
and training materials for NWFP activities.
Tenure. Governments should recognise and reconcile customary tenure
rights over all NWFP resources.
Government regulations. Review and revise legislation to enable local
communities to realise improved earnings. Undertake education programmes
Forest harvesting and management. Determine/design an optimum combination
of wood and non-wood utilisation from ecological and local community perspectives.
Rationalising exploitation. Develop long-term management plans for NWFPs
together with local communities.
Market orientation. Provide market orientation to initiatives for developing
NWFPs. Provide access to market knowledge and information.
Inter-sectoral collaboration. Enhance coordination, consultation and
networking in the management and utilisation of NWFP resources.
PROCESSING AND MARKETING
Most NWFP activities occur in the rural communities sub-sector, and
are generally confined to collecting or harvesting. There is now a desire
and willingness to involve these local communities increasingly in processing,
wherever appropriate. Obstacles to this are that producers are often widely
scattered, and most do not have marketing skills. Local communities are
generally price takers and have little influence in the marketing of their
Often there is a lack of clear policy, strategies and guidelines
for developing NWFP processing industries.
Information. Information about appropriate processing technologies is
difficult to obtain.
Policy. There are often no policies, strategies or guidelines governing
the processing of NWFPs. Maximum value adding should be carried out locally,
both at rural and country level, wherever appropriate.
Investment environment. It is important that a conducive environment
is created at both the rural and country levels in order to promote investments
in local processing.
Information. Promote exchange and transfer of appropriate technology.
Provide primary producers with relevant information and appropriate technology.
Policy. Promote local downstream processing.
Investment environment. Create a conducive investment environment to
promote local processing. Provide appropriate financing mechanisms locally.
Incorporate NWFP initiatives as part of regional development planning exercises.
Marketing and Trade
The Group considered several inter-related aspects.
Policy. There is a general lack of clear policy, strategies and guidelines
for NWFPs marketing.
Information. Information about the extent, volume and prices is almost
non-existent or difficult to obtain. It is especially important to have
this marketing information to take full advantage of emerging "green consumerism".
Marketing efforts should not be confined to existing products but should
be coupled with a continuous process of product development and market
Marketing structures. Collective or cooperative marketing institutions
are poorly developed.
- Clear guidelines in trade of NWFPs are lacking. It is also important
to note that the development of NWFP trade does not normally affect resource
Infrastructure. The infrastructure for marketing and trade needs to
be upgraded in order to support marketing and trade initiatives. This is
critical to increase development of NWFP service industry components, e.g.
eco-tourism. In marketing of perishable products, access to appropriate
storage and freighting is important.
- There are no agreements between producing countries for regulating
supplies and prices in existence at present. These agreements might ensure
that producers are not totally vulnerable to the dictates of external markets.
Policy. Formulate and implement marketing policies and strategies that
promote development of NWFPs.
Information. Establish databases, trade and market intelligence networks
at local, national and international levels. Initiate market research programmes
for both informal and formal sectors. Disseminate marketing information
at all levels. Initiate a continual programme of market exploration for
existing products that are currently being traded and for other products
that have trade potential.
Marketing structures. Explore options for establishing institutions
that could assume collective marketing responsibilities. Promote cooperative
marketing efforts to cater to needs of rural communities. Shorten the market
chain to bypass middlemen as much as possible.
Infrastructure. Increase investment in infrastructure development to
promote marketing and trade initiatives.
Trade. Promote national, international and regional cooperation on trade
and sustainable management on a single-product basis. NWFP trade should
be promoted by regional institutions such as ASEAN, which should enhance
activities to promote trade by and among its member countries. The procedure
for including any species in the CITES list of endangered species should
be reviewed to consider the positions of affected countries. Develop clear
definitions for products and ensure that producers understand the products.
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND ENVIRONMENT
Weak coverage of NWFPs in curricula.
Increased migration of rural people into forest areas places added pressure
on NWFPs, and creates unsustainable practices.
Research results (including meeting/consultation outcomes) are not translated
into applicable languages and formats (e.g. practical field manuals and
Existing research does not accommodate documentation of existing local
knowledge of NWFPs. There is a need to incorporate more traditional knowledge
into management planning, and to empower and assist local people to use
their existing knowledge in developing local management plans.
Need for government's orientation towards participatory planning to
be strengthened and implemented.
Tenure issues need clarification in many areas.
Certain NWFP species face depletion or extinction.
Traditional knowledge related to NWFPs is being lost.
Need to undertake Environmental Impact Assessments, to ensure scientific
management. Unsustainable logging practices in some areas threaten social,
environmental and economic sustainability of NWFPs.
Increase the emphasis on NWFPs in curricula at all levels of forestry
education and training, and develop training/information materials for
teaching aspects related to NWFPs.
Enhance livelihood opportunities in settlement areas and intensify family
planning in rural areas. Ensure that transmigration programmes include
programmes to protect and sustainably manage NWFPs.
Each country should: develop a plan for preparing field manuals on sustainable
management of selected NWFPs, for extension in local languages; encourage
regional cooperation in the dissemination of field manuals; and improve
dissemination of abstracts/bibliographies of existing publications, updated
on a regular basis (by FAO and other international organisations).
Improve documentation of existing knowledge and research. Establish
and strengthen networks to share the knowledge/information on NWFPs. Expand
inventories and research on the biology and ecology of NWFPs to include
plants, animals and their habitats. Involve local people in NWFP resource
management planning and implementation. Increase the number and skills
of forestry extension staff in participatory planning and decision making.
Increase training of all resource managers to improve awareness of participatory
Develop and implement conflict resolution and consensus mechanisms to
resolve and clarify tenure/access/collection rights.
Employ conservation measures including enrichment planting and protection
of wildlife and introduce techniques suitable for local conditions.
Facilitate transfer of traditional knowledge from older generations
before it is lost; enrich information on traditional knowledge at the local
level through strengthened extension efforts; and provide intellectual
property rights to acknowledge and compensate local knowledge related to
Internalize procedures for environmental impact assessment in developing
management plans. Initiate country programmes on management and sustainable
development of NWFP and mobilize funding agencies and expertise (e.g. FAO
and other UN agencies) to assist in this.
Unclear identification of responsibilities for NWFPs (including management
support, research, regulation), and inadequate attention and focus given
to NWFPs by forestry organisations.
Poor coordination among organisations working on NWFPs, leading to reduced
benefits to local producers.
Inadequate legal framework concerning NWFP development and management.
Inadequate finances for management and research and development of NWFPs.
Inadequate technical support for NWFP development.
Inadequate involvement of local people and NGOs in NWFP research.
Inadequate institutional support for technology transfer to local producers.
Lack of a centralized database on NWFPs and lack of access to data.
Lack of policy-makers' awareness of and commitment to NWFP activities.
Inadequate numbers and skills of researchers and resource managers with
Lack of strong of community-based organisations (CBOs) in forest communities.
Lack of recognition of ownership/rights (access, use, etc.) and tenure
Inadequate definition and classification of NWFPs.
Government agencies should clearly identify organisational unit(s) responsible
for NWFPs and provide adequate supports to empower them.
Establish a national council or committee to promote coordination. Establish
producer associations at product level, as appropriate.
Review and amend legislation and policy pertaining to NWFP development.
Create mechanisms to re-invest a portion of revenue generated from NWFP
activities back into financing NWFP development.
Develop and conduct education and training programmes for relevant aspects
of NWFP development at all levels.
Involve local people in participatory research (e.g. data collection
and problem identification). Ensure local people and NGOs have access to
Strengthen extension activities to provide technical assistance to primary
Establish database centres at appropriate levels and disseminate information
Convince policy-makers of the importance of NWFPs through workshops,
seminars and electronic mass media.
Incorporate NWFPs in curricula (at all levels), including relevant continuing
education for resource managers, researchers, and extension workers.
Support CBO's activities, especially among forest dwellers.
Clarify the status of existing customary laws in relation to overall
national legal system and develop mechanism to inform the local people
Develop a universally applicable definition and classification of NWFPs.
The socio-economic importance of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) lies
in the actual and potential values of these products in satisfying the
livelihood needs of the people, in particular, of local and indigenous
NWFPs and their economic, biological, social, and cultural values are
neglected by policy-makers and development planners. These products rarely
figure in official national statistics, and do not appear at all in national
land-use policies. National institutions lack capacity for generating knowledge
on NWFPs and their socio-economic benefits. The rural community that extract
and process NWFPs are not effectively organised.
There is only limited knowledge about the biology, ecology and management
of NWFPs, as well as on the interactions between the people and these products.
There are no established mechanisms for strengthening exchange of information
and experiences at the regional and inter-regional levels.
Though many people are involved in the collection and processing of
NWFPs, few of them improve their standard of living from this activity.
This is because collectors receive only a small share of the final value.
In most cases the principle of equity is not achieved. The value added
locally to NWFPs, as well as efficiency in processing, is very low. This
limits the income rural people can get from these resources.
Limited and imprecise land tenure systems and legal rights and restricted
access to information, particularly by the poorest segment of the rural
population are major impediments. Official authorities lack capacity to
provide technical assistance and extension services to support sustainable
management of NWFP resources.
South-South and North-South cooperation and technology transfer related
to NWFPs are weak. International donor support for the promotion of NWFPs
Raise awareness at the national level of the importance and constraints
on NWFP development through, among other activities, workshops and seminars.
Participation should include policy-makers, officials and community leaders.
Establish alliances between community-based organisations and policy-
and decision-makers to manage and develop NWFPs sustainably.
Promote establishment and strengthening of community-based organisations
and provide necessary services, mainly access to credits and markets.
Facilitate access to NWFP resources by means of appropriate legislation
and government agreements with the private sector.
Develop methods for participatory research on socio-economic aspects
of NWFPs, their assessment and inventory.
Promote establishment of community reserves for NWFP conservation and
equal access to community members.
Improve local value addition by developing and disseminating appropriate
technology for harvesting and processing.
Promote policy reforms to improve land tenure and use in order to achieve
sustainable management of NWFPs.
Promote South-South and North-South cooperation on diverse aspects of
PROCESSING AND MARKETING
The key to the success of NWFPs as an important contributor to increased
standards of living for rural communities, as well as to national economies,
lies in increasing the potential for adding value to these products through
good processing technologies and marketing channels, while keeping sustainable
management as a priority for resource conservation.
Local NWFP markets are generally characterized by the prominence
of food products, medicinal plants and cultural and spiritual products
that do not require further processing. These are the markets that require
Added value and efficiency in processing NWFPs is low, preventing appropriate
income generation from NWFPs.
In general, the processing of NWFPs at the local level is rudimentary
with low quality and yields, due to lack of technology and training. This
hinders local value addition and acceptance of the products in markets.
Only limited information is available regarding products which have
expanded market potential based on improved processing.
Improve value addition by disseminating appropriate harvesting and processing
technologies. This can be achieved by reinforcing local initiatives and
through collaboration with other developing countries that have greater
efficiency in NWFP processing (e.g. India has assisted other countries
on medicinal plants processing).
Strengthen research on appropriate technologies for extraction and processing
of NWFPs in order to disseminate those which are more appropriate. In particular,
special attention should be given to those processing technologies which
can be implemented/used close to the source of raw material and which conform
to specifications of actual and potential markets.
Promote national strategies to add value to selected NWFPs, based on
a stable supply of products and an analysis of economic and market factors.
This will require financial support and incentives.
Facilitate acquisition and/or development of technology on the basis
of the following criteria: small-scale production systems should emphasise
on improving harvesting techniques through community organisation, and
aim distribution and processing techniques for maximum use. Technology
for large-scale production should emphasise primary and downstream processing,
energy use, pollution standards, productivity, inter-industry linkage and
The great variability of NWFPs, from fruits and food to aromatic chemical
products and phytopharmaceuticals, corresponds to the variability of markets
for these products at the subsistence, local, and international levels.
Some products meet a global demand (edible nuts), others reach specific
markets (special types of honey, aromatic chemical products), while some
NWFPs are collected and consumed locally. Business development and strategic
planning should be formulated accordingly.
Assessments of wild populations of NWFPs are showing depletion of resources
caused by the effect of international markets.
The dispersed production base of NWFPs, as well as poor infrastructure
and information compared to that for agricultural commodities, has direct
effects on enterprise survival rates, market symmetries (especially causing
unbalanced relations between producers and buyers), marketing channels,
prices, and selling expenses.
Emphasis on commodity production, especially in the context of good
market opportunities, can induce over-exploitation. On the other hand,
market scarcities can also encourage technological improvement, higher
investment, and better chances for long-term sustainable management.
The lack of internationally accepted definition, classification and
uniform measurement for NWFPs hinders the compilation of statistics for
national marketing studies and for comparable market studies at the international
Income generation from many NWFPs is low due to the lack of identification
and characterization of market opportunities and negotiation skills. This
is closely linked to the lack of statistical information on the volume
and value of NWFP trade.
The rural communities usually are only extractors and have little access
to markets to increase their income. They are highly dependent on middlemen,
who can be exploitative.
The lack of information on trade barriers, commercialization channels,
quality specifications, sanitary regulations, packaging norms and consumer
preferences hinders access to international markets.
Little understanding of the market and marketing systems for NWFPs,
produces failures in establishing healthy supply and demand systems.
Poor knowledge of the impact of markets on sustainable forest management.
Different and uncoordinated incentive schemes, taxation systems and
quality standards affect NWFP market practices.
NWFPs, being nature based, can never be totally uniform in their characteristics,
nor can their supply be regular and fully reliable.
Each country should designate an institution responsible for the collection,
processing and dissemination of statistics on NWFPs on both the resource-processing
National and international institutions involved in promoting NWFPs
should give more attention to establishing appropriate markets for NWFPs,
mainly at the local level. This will improve income generation and stimulate
Appropriate technologies for quality control and classification, packaging
and preservation of NWFPs should be developed and disseminated in order
to meet national and international market standards.
Systems for promotion of markets at all levels should be developed and
There is an urgent need for an international effort to establish harmonised
definition, classification and common unit measurement systems. This will
facilitate collection of statistics on NWFPs and improve marketing studies
at the national and international levels.
Gradually and by stages, those NWFPs that show greater potential for
generating improved income for rural communities and that can be managed
in a sustainable manner should be promoted with appropriate market outlets.
Research at the level of resource base and potential use should study
linking mechanisms for more productive market systems.
Honest brokers, international agencies, private consultants or corporations
could bridge gaps between both ends of the market process (the resource
and end uses).
Marketing of edible NWFPs, in regular size, form, and quality, and free
from insecticides and fertilizers should be promoted and encouraged.
Marketing channels based on cultural traditions and the capacities of
local communities should be established.
The large number of middlemen in the marketing chain should be reduced
wherever possible. The extractive reserves in Latin America offer relevant
examples of this.
Appropriate mechanisms should be introduced by which local NWFP extractors
of important products could benefit directly and in a timely manner (e.g.
the case of the extraction of medicinal plants), without affecting biodiversity.
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND ENVIRONMENT
There is an urgent need to sustainably manage forests for multiple uses,
and to reverse the deforestation process that has reached a yearly average
of 7.3 million ha in the region, with serious loss of biodiversity.
There are few successful examples of integrated and sustainable resource
management for joint production of wood and NWFPs on a commercial basis.
Indiscriminate harvesting of wood and NWFPs results in significant alteration
of the forest eco-systems and their biodiversity, preventing sustainable
use of these products.
Regulations for formulation and implementation of management plans for
NWFPs are usually prepared for administrative and bureaucratic purposes,
and are rarely conducive to actual application in the field.
In the region, local and indigenous communities have developed new and
innovative management plans and these should be taken seriously. These
plans are based mainly on traditional systems of forest management; such
as the Campa and Witoto systems. For example, the Confederation of Indigenous
Peoples of the Amazon Basin (COICA), which involves more than 400 indigenous
organisations representing some four million indigenous people, has prepared
a Plan for Amazon Conservation and Development. This plan considers NWFPs
as a main element of sustainable development.
Lack of knowledge and research on sustainable management of NWFPs prevents
their full contribution to development and conservation of biodiversity.
At present, natural forests are evaluated in terms of commercial wood
volume, with no attention to NWFPs even if these are important to the rural
University curricula and research institutions still have a strong bias
towards wood products. In general the multipurpose services of forests
and the management and utilization of NWFPs receive little or no attention.
Only in very few cases, have in-depth studies on domestication of NWFPs
Promote regional ethno-biological studies with participation of indigenous
communities and national institutions.
Promote implementation of in situ conservation of NWFP resources
by local communities, by providing fair compensation to their work in maintaining
Promote in-depth studies and actions that lead to domestication of NWFPs
through enrichment planting or other systems. This is particularly important
where over-harvesting is causing depletion. Attention should be given to
rural communities that can benefit from species domestication.
Promote joint management of forest resources in community-based reserves.
increase participatory research on NWFPs to benefit from traditional
knowledge and technologies in combination with other sources of knowledge.
Effectively involve communities in formulating and implementing management
plans that integrate wood and NWFPs.
In formulating guidelines for integrated forest management, give attention
to systems developed and applied by indigenous communities.
In order to support conservation of genetic wealth and variability of
NWFP resources, establish conservation areas based on social and ecological
Undertake systematic and scientific efforts to conserve genetic resources
and avoid endangering wild forms of NWFP species.
Identify and conserve forest ecosystems of special importance to local
communities that provide NWFPs (e.g. the aguajales) as well as sacred
forests, which are of major cultural and spiritual importance.
Appropriate policies, planning, legislation, human resource development
at all levels, and administrative support are fundamental for development
of NWFP activities. These are achieved basically through good institutions
Combining local value addition, rational resource use, and initiatives
for conservation is extremely complex. It requires the cooperation among
governments, intermediary institutions, communities, private enterprise,
and academia, as well as incorporation of various sectors of society from
both developing and industrialized countries.
Institutions for developing and promoting NWFPs are generally weak,
including forestry administrations, educational entities, and research
centres. In recent years, a number of innovative policies, legislation
and institutional arrangements related to NWFPs and forest populations
have emerged in Latin America. These initiatives and the overall shift
of forest policies toward development of local communities have generally
come as government responses to people's demands at grassroots level. This
encouraging progress, however, has still not been enough to obtain more
than marginal attention to NWFPs and forest communities.
Lack of explicit usufruct and tenure rights makes harvesting from certain
areas risky, since conflicts can arise as to who has authority to grant
access to NWFP resources, and under what conditions.
In contrast to many governments, non-governmental organisations have
been very active in promoting NWFPs.
There is a lack of inter-institutional and interdisciplinary approaches
for developing NWFPs. Sometimes policy and legislation are inconsistent.
Only one country in the region has initiated systematic prospecting
and analysis of forest plants, insects and micro-organisms in protected
areas for biologically active compounds.
Existing legislation on NWFPs is normally regulatory and usually only
refers to harvesting. Important aspects like land tenure, access to the
resource and ownership rights to biodiversity are not considered.
Concerted efforts in all research fields necessary for promoting NWFPs
generally do not exist.
There are no appropriate regional mechanisms for disseminating research
results in the countries of the region.
NWFPs have not received recognition at the higher and intermediate levels
of forestry education and other disciplines.
Extension services for promoting NWFPs are incipient due to the lack
of coherent policies.
For attracting strong and continued political commitment at all national
and local levels, raise awareness of the importance of NWFPs among policy-makers,
development planners, government authorities and community leaders, as
well as among foresters, ecologists and biologists. This can be achieved
through national and local workshops, among other means.
Organise broad-based participation, encompassing local groups, women,
indigenous communities and NGOs.
Forest policies should pay attention to integrated forest use, re-evaluating
their socio-economic and environmental potential. In this context, NWFPs
should receive special importance.
Through National Biodiversity Commissions, national institutions should
promote inventories and conservation strategies for NWFPs. Inter-institutional
coordination and harmonization of existing laws should be promoted.
There should be a shift in philosophy from custodial to sustainable
utilization, according to different types and intensities of protection
required; also from centralized to decentralized management, with community
participation and empowerment.
Intellectual property rights regimes should be reviewed to protect valuable
knowledge developed by communities and scientists. Contract negotiation
for bioprospecting should consider three basic sets of issues: (1) science;
(2) business; (3) legal issues and frameworks.
The government should normalize and promote rational harvesting, conservation
and management of NWFPs, with a view toward substituting imports with these
products where possible.
Research on NWFPs should be strengthened and undertaken in a general
framework that fosters translation of findings into policies and programmes.
Research should be oriented towards better assessment of forest resources
and their products. Particular importance should be given to management
systems, harvesting technologies, regeneration techniques, domestication,
improved processing technologies, and market studies.
Perspective of the forestry profession at the vocational, technical
and professional levels should be rationalised, to foster appropriate awareness
and knowledge about non-wood forest resources and products.
Extension capabilities should be strengthened at the local level in
order to promote improved harvesting, processing and management of NWFPs.
DONORS/DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE AGENCIES
The following are the recommendations of the Group relating to socio-economic
Non-wood forest product (NWFP) use and development is complex and forms
part of overall resource use through subsistence, timber, and other activities
for generating cash income. NWFP development policies must therefore be
multidisciplinary and integrated with other development policies.
Development of NWFPs should take account of the overall resource use
and economic situation in rural areas.
NWFP development should include all forest types (perhaps) in all countries.
Donors and development assistance agencies need a greater understanding
of NWFPs' market mechanisms in order to promote effective and appropriate
development of these products.
NWFP programme developers (government, international agencies, NGOs)
should address the following four issues when developing NWFP policies:
conservation and biodiversity, sustainable management, appropriate commercialisation,
and community welfare. Inappropriate commercialisation of NWFPs can conflict
with forest community welfare
Development of NWFPs should build upon not replace subsistence/traditional
uses of the forests.
Until suitable official data and statistics on NWFPs in developing nations
becomes available, donors should base their decisions on case studies,
and develop methodologies for studying economics and resource use of NWFPs.
NWFPs should be included in the discussions defining the criteria and
indicators of sustainable forest management. Governments and NGOs dealing
with forest policy issues and certifying/accrediting bodies such as the
Forest Stewardship Council have responsibility in this regard.
PROCESSING AND MARKETING
The objective of developing NWFPs is to commercialise new products,
promote the sustainable management of forest resources (including conservation
of biodiversity), and/or maintain and improve the welfare of communities
living in or near forests. There are different stakeholders and therefore
we cannot define a single set of objectives; one stakeholder's goal may
conflict with that of another.
Processing has the potential to increase rural income by enhancing
the unit value of products and therefore make producers less dependent
on subsistence. It can also decrease the pressure to over-harvest primary
resources. Resource exploitation through processing and marketing has the
potential to benefit or damage people and/or the environment.
Unregulated marketing alone may not guarantee sustainable forest
management and the equitable distribution of income from NWFPs. Other mechanisms
may be needed to address these multiple objectives.
In many countries existing trade and environmental policies give
priority to forest conservation. These may intervene to restrict current
and future access to production and marketing of NWFPs. Governments may
not, therefore, recognize the need for marketing since they may run counter
to conservation objectives.
The following are important requirements for development of NWFP industries.
Need for training for collectors. There is a lack of information available
to collectors on: what happens to the product; skills and training needed
for workers; and options for processing that can allow the local people
to conserve and harvest resources sustainability. Education is needed on
what market requires.
Strengthen producer networks. Donors should help strengthen and develop
NWFP networks for producers to support improved processing and marketing,
with an emphasis on extension and dissemination efforts targeted at the
Improve existing systems via grading/prices. Improve existing production
and processing methods, ensuring that producers receive the full benefit
from the improved technology. This can be done through grading systems,
higher prices, and/or time savings through improved technology, etc.
Donors to facilitate increased information to all levels of production.
Donors should provide more information on profit levels for each of the
actors along the value-added chain and ensure greater transparency.
Scale-neutral policies. Rural economies are comprised of informal and
formal sectors. Government policies often discriminate against informal
sectors. Policies and support programmes need to be scale-neutral and directed
separately towards the two sectors.
Government role in coordination. Governments (in particular Departments
of Trade and Industry) should help coordinate individual businesses processing
NWFPs so that as a group they can better serve markets.
Feasibility studies of all factors. Feasibility studies that consider
all the factors simultaneously must be done before value adding can be
Increased risk and externalities. There is need to consider all externalities
when considering value-adding opportunities; it may be profitable for the
business but not for the country as a whole. When one moves up the value-added
chain one is also increasing risks. There is also need to make sure that
processing is in the proper locations.
Government control/direction/licensing. Donors should help develop (and
governments should require as part of the licensing process) appropriate
feasibility studies. It is necessary to checklist what is needed in a feasibility
study, such as environmental impact, impact on local populations, processing
facilities, marketing possibilities, resource sustainability, economic
sustainability, etc. There is also need to develop codes of conduct for
NWFP industries and to disseminate related information.
Links among existing institutions. Efforts to strengthen links between
research institutions and NWFP industries, for example, could draw on the
model of Australian CRC (Collaborative Research Centre), which brings together
existing institutions working on shared issues.
Issues related to marketing can be dealt with separately for local markets
and international markets, even though they have several commonalities.
Following are some of the considerations to improve local markets for NWFPs.
Non-marketed local products. Many NWFPs are not marketable, some are
not marketed at all, some are only used locally. How do we value these
and account for them? These non-marketable products are the link to socio-economic
benefits/issues. We need economic instruments to value these and if we
could value them we could give them more importance.
Effect of valuation on local use. Some studies show that if you create
a market or put a value on a product it changes the local use of the product
drastically, for example from subsistence to specialization.
Raise policy-makers' awareness of local market importance. More attention
should be given to improving local markets. To do this we need to raise
the level of awareness of policy-makers.
Government policy and monetary values. We may tend to overstate the
need to have monetary values of NWFPs in order to persuade governments
to make policy changes. This needs to be avoided.
Some of the considerations relating to international markets for NWFPs
are the following:
Overemphasis on marketing vs. local use. If there is too much attention
given to marketing we may not be able to achieve other objectives of social-economic
importance. Promotion of NWFPs for markets may disrupt local and subsistence
use. Proper balance is to be sought.
Consumer awareness of variability of NWFPs. International markets, even
the so called "green" niche markets, (and domestic urban markets) increasingly
demand standardised products. By definition, natural NWFPs are rarely uniform.
There is, therefore, a need to increase awareness amongst consumers of
the natural variability of NWFPs.
Marketing needs to be product specific. Marketing needs are product
specific and cannot be applied on a general basis for all NWFPs. Markets
exist and can be defined for individual NWFPs; but not for NWFPs as a whole.
Market monitoring is required to increase awareness of NWFPs and to
improve coordination between producing communities and government, as well
as coordination within government ministries themselves.
Chain of commercialisation. The chain or path of commercialization is
important in the marketing of NWFPs. Producing communities often do not
know how to market new products and require information on all aspects
of the market.
Prioritise funding. Funding for product development should be prioritised,
favouring those products with high marketing potential.
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND ENVIRONMENT
In general, environmental conservation is a matter of maintaining the
characteristics and functions of the ecosystem. We have to be aware of
the existing balance when moving to commercialization. Collecting of NWFPs
may add value to the forests, thereby contributing to conservation and
protection of forests from impacts of shifting cultivation, since farmers
can draw on NWFPs and reduce the need to clear more forest for farming.
Over-collection of NWFPs may disrupt ecological systems but collection
may be less disruptive than activities which it forestalls. We should consider
the seasonality and year-to-year variations in harvesting of NWFPs as well
as what happens to the forest environment and the people when there are
natural calamities (e.g. crop failures).
In discussing the environmental dimension of NWFPs, the Group noted
that resource accounting is a very difficult topic, and the benefits obtained
may not always justify the costs. Accounting of natural resources is very
important in influencing policy-makers and should not be underestimated,
but one must consider who will use the data and how it will be used. It
is important to develop and agree on standard methodologies that include
environmental benefits, water supply issues, opportunity costs for recreation,
etc. Choice of production systems for NWFPs can influence water, soil,
plant nutrients, and other environmental impact conditions. While methodologies
for resource accounting exist, getting reliable data is very difficult.
Research on methodologies should focus on cost-effective ways to obtain
There is a need to make inventories of resources and determine what
levels can be harvested. This will vary from one setting to another, so
it is impossible to generalize.
The Group made several recommendations, to ensure sustainable utilisation
of NWFPs consistent with environmental considerations:
Develop low-cost, rapid monitoring and evaluation systems.
Conduct baseline surveys to gain an understanding of population dynamics.
The roles of animals, birds, and insects not just plants need attention.
Understand first the use of traditional mechanisms by local communities
for species and ecosystems monitoring. Recognize that monitoring of ecosystems
is more difficult. One way to look at the impact on the ecosystem is by
comparing undisturbed forest to areas where intensive collecting is taking
Identify and use indicator species to estimate impact on ecosystem when
complete inventories cannot be conducted. Again, find out first what local
populations consider to be indicator species and build upon this knowledge.
Investigate if resource accounting can build upon timber inventories.
Look at what has already been done, for instance, by UNEP, IUCN, World
Resources Institute, and the World Bank. Build upon this.
Pay attention also to non-tropical forests; they are equally important
in biodiversity terms.
Establish guidelines for environmental impact assessment.
Provide priority to degraded forest lands, looking not only at habitat
but also their productive capability.
From the point of view of resource management and development the Group
noted that different actors are involved in resource management. It is
necessary to have a clear idea as to who are the resource managers.
Accordingly, objectives will vary ranging from conservation to economic
gains. The classifications based on products blur this distinction. When
it comes to conservation, a Brazil nut grown in the forest is different
from a Brazil nut grown in plantations, even though as a product one is
not distinct from the other.
Buffer zones are an essential way of maintaining peoples' links to
the forest. There are not many positive experiences with buffer zones and
the lessons tend to be bleak in cases of great population pressure, or
where people previously held tenure to the "buffer" land. But experience
remains limited. All systems have flaws; in some cases buffer zones work,
but in others, they have contributed to resource depletion. Also if too
much emphasis is placed on NWFPs without attention to timber, communities
may not benefit.
In India, the development of joint forest management has proved a
very good model. The state retains ownership of the forest resource, but
local communities receive 25-30 percent of the wood harvested, and 100
percent of NWFP harvests. In view of increasing forest scarcity, this programme
shows a policy shift away from revenue emphasis towards a priority of forest
maintenance through community involvement.
Some of the recommendations of the Group, related to resource management
and development are the following.
Work with the forest communities, to come up with resource management
and development strategies. This should be the basis for resource management.
Make people living in or near the forest responsible for those forests.
Recognize that integrated management for wood and non-wood products
should not be the objective per se. Depending on the situation,
preference could be given to one or the other or both.
Emphasize policy frameworks, awareness building and training.
Recognize there is a continuum of NWFP extraction and cultivation practices
(see the following indicative chart).
||Benefit to community
|Extraction from natural forests
|Extraction from modified forests (fallow)
|Extraction from heavily managed agroforest
|Extraction from cultivated systems
|Extraction from monocrop cultivated systems
The dichotomy of objectives (production vs. conservation) causes
confusion. In viewing the interactions along the continuum of NWFP extraction
and cultivation practices, we need to consider both conservation and human
economic needs. Developing NWFPs as plantation crops does not necessarily
reduce pressure on natural forests.
While discussing definitions, the Group noted that the definition of
NWFPs proposed in the theme paper by Chandrasekharan and discussed by this
Consultation is primarily for trade classification purposes, targeted at
the system of national accounts. The use of the term NWFPs does not preclude
the use of other terms. However when using other terms, such as non-timber
forest products (NTFPs), appropriate definitions need to be attached.
The Group recognized that the definition of forest does not explicitly
incorporate the term ecosystem. It should incorporate not only plants but
also animals, insects, micro-organisms and other biological components
of the forest.
The Group further considered specific institutional aspects influencing
the management and utilisation on NWFP resources.
The major research issues considered by the Group were:
Need for increased interdisciplinary efforts, noting that this is difficult
and mechanisms have to be devised that provide incentives and infrastructures
for interdisciplinary work to happen.
Need to make research more results oriented with a vision of how the
results will be used and who can use the results.
Need to manage scarce financial resource more effectively, stressing
the need to avoid duplication of efforts and the need for more coordination
and collaboration. Research should be needs-based and directed by local
Need to deal with a wider range of research areas including those that
are less recognized (such as economics, social sciences, and marketing).
By the same token more emphasis needs to be placed on local, in-country
research that builds local capabilities. This includes efforts to direct
research to local priority issues.
The Group made the following recommendations to address the issues:
Need to get beyond the "publish or perish" incentive system.
Mechanisms should be devised and encouraged for more interdisciplinary
research. Most research is still influenced by disciplinary approaches,
but NWFPs need inter-disciplinary approaches. Much work is needed to promote
and develop this including methodologies and training. This approach needs
to recognize the varying gestation periods. Emphasis should be to supporting
research programmes rather than research institutions. But this may not
be applicable in countries where research facilities are still developing.
Interdisciplinary work also should include sectors outside traditional
research facilities, such as the private sector.
Research should be more results oriented. Donors and development assistance
agencies should require that research proposals indicate the applicability
and dissemination of the research results for eventual applications in
Research work should better avoid duplication of efforts and rather
bridge research gaps. It is necessary to provide incentives for universities
to work in inter-disciplinary teams and to combine talents; also to determine
where the capacity for research is located: in country, outside countries,
international groups, etc. To address this issue FAO is publishing a document
that has looked at relevant databases and has identified the ones relevant
to NWFPs (600 exist). Communities also need to play an appropriate role
in the research.
Research should include currently under-represented disciplines, e.g.
economic and social sciences and marketing. While there has been some amount
of research to address community needs, these may not adequately highlight
NWFPs use. NWFP research needs to review and look at anthropological research
and identify where NWFPs are covered, and also make links to private sector
trade associations that deal with NWFPs. More research and planning on
biodiversity and services needs to be undertaken, since most research is
Suitable incentives need to be created to get away from the publish
or perish culture.
Donors and development assistance agencies should take into account
the applicability of research results and how to utilise them effectively.
With regard to the information needs for developing NWFPs, the Group
made the following observations:
Research findings need to be organised (e.g. in a database) and their
compilation/documentation and accessibility need to be improved, with an
emphasis on information dissemination.
Dissemination of information to decentralised levels requires that it
is applicable at the field level. Researchers need incentives to provide
field-applicable information (e.g. publications in local languages).
Part of research funds should be allocated for interaction with and
between social science departments and to help researchers to publish results
for use at the field level.
Cooperation should be strengthened regionally and internationally for
sharing information. Also information sharing between sectors is needed.
Those involved in the information exchange process are just as important
as the researchers themselves.
Information and extension roles need to be clearly identified. Generation
of information, dissemination and extension efforts are all equally important.
Information use and dissemination has to consider different target groups.
For example: rural workers/extension workers are community facilitators
and they should know what is going on in research circles, so they can
put it into practice.
Human Resource Development
In the area of human resource development for NWFPs, the Group highlighted
the following considerations:
Forestry schools should make it easier for students to take a selection
of multi-disciplinary courses.
It is important for national educational institutions to have the capability
to do research.
More market researchers are needed who can take into account the relevant
aspects of marketing and can utilize the existing and available market
Training venue is an important issue. Training should take place where
the problems are. There is also need for on the job training.
It is necessary to plan the different levels of training (academic to
grassroots levels); also about how to impart the training. Multidisciplinary
training programmes within universities are to be set up; core curriculum
of forestry schools should require at least one course in NWFPs.
Short-term training courses are important and should be based on needs
The objective of activities related to NWFPs is conservation
of forests and generation of socio-economic benefits. This needs to be
stressed in policy statements.
There is need to distinguish between internal policies, that can
be changed among sectors involved in NWFP/forestry and, external policies
that influence the NWFP/forestry sector (e.g. land use planning, etc.)
and to look at how macro policies (not specific to forests and NWFPs) are
affecting NWFPs; also to consider what is relevant and possible.
Policy is based on information and knowledge. Therefore, who makes
policy and who provides information to the policy-makers, are important
considerations. It is necessary to raise awareness of foresters on the
need to influence politicians and to raise their understanding of NWFP
issues. This calls for strategic alliances.
Policy development is an important issue; consultations with all
parties to be affected by the policy is essential.
More resources are to be devoted to understanding the linkages among
policies and policy implementation instruments, inside and outside the
forestry sector, and their impact on issues relating to NWFPs.
The Role of Agencies and Donors
The Group considered that donors and development assistance agencies
should avoid duplication of efforts and cooperate more. More coordination
is needed among organisations in order to maximize the availability and
use of donor funds. Also more up front work is needed to make sure that
project activities do not duplicate previous work or other ongoing work
by other donors or in-country programmes. Very little donor support or
loans are now available for NWFP development and related capital investment.
There is need for special arrangements with regards to loans for developing
NWFPs and for more support from donors.
In these regards the Group made the following recommendations:
A compendium should document existing programmes of organisations active
in NWFPs. By the same token, donors should use existing structures to execute
programme and not create new ones.
NGOs need to be involved in discussions related to, and in spreading
the message of, NWFPs to influence policies.
It is necessary to understand the mechanisms that influence decision-makers,
and to make strategic plans, such that NWFP activities are proposed to
donors and in turn make NWFP programmes attractive to donor communities.
Donors' decisions are based on what is received from countries, even though
donors may give guidelines regarding priority areas. Authorities in the
recipient countries have therefore to be convinced about the importance
of NWFPs, before they can propose projects to donors.
Donors need to be more flexible in funding. Donors are to be persuaded
to programme longer funding cycle commitments, at least a 10-year commitment.
Also, donors should provide for flexibility once the funding of a programme
has started, so that new partnerships and ideas can be added.
Another important need is for developing policy on intellectual property
rights. Many countries do not have legislation on this, and it is needed
to protect their natural heritage and resources. Even though it has been
mentioned in the biodiversity convention, there is still much work needed
to get this implemented, country by country.