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4. Product domestication and adoption by farmers

F. Sinclair (chair)
I. Dawson (rapporteur)
S. Puri
N. Lamien
J. Koudou
J. M'Uthari
J.E. Hubbard
J-M. Boffa
T. Tshiamala
L. Lintu
H. de Foresta
M. Arnold
H-J. Lipp
H. Jaenicke
T. Simons


The group defined domestication of NTFP as a progression from collection and utilization of products, through protection, management and cultivation, and culminating with genetic manipulation. This progression occurs through intensification of investment and genetic control. Two extreme strategies were envisaged: (1) making incremental improvement beginning with in situ product protection and management and (2) making major leaps in genetic improvement (fig. 1). Domestication activities will usually fall between these two extremes. The first strategy would favour small-scale farmers while the second would be geared at entrepreneurial establishments. The group recommended that efforts be concentrated on domestication of Cinderella tree species, and the two strategies be considered, but with special attention to market conditions for specific products.

Research priorities

The group recognized the need to capture available experiences on previous domestication and commercialization of Cinderella tree species, particularly in horticulture. The lessons learned should be compiled and used to guide our actions in agroforestry. With that in hand, the proposed areas of research are-

W3735e49.GIF (28555 bytes)

Figure 1. Two pathways in domestication and commercialization of NTFPs.
These pathways form two extremes, with many intermediates.

The concern was expressed that the genetic improvement pathway, if highly successful, might lead to monocultures, rather than to agroforests, although this may depend on the levels of inputs required and the value and volume of the products produced.

Infrastructure and institutions

For successful commercialization, the products must flow from production centres to the market places. For this to happen, development of infrastructure such as roads, transport and marketing channels is necessary. Policies and financing of such infrastructure should be considered before large-scale domestication is undertaken.

A marketing information system is another area of concern. Information flow (including collection, interpretation and sharing) is important for the success of domestication and commercialization. Systems for improving farmer-researcher dialogue (such as surveys and knowledge-based systems (KBS) and for tapping into indigenous knowledge (IK) should be emphasized. There is also a need to strengthen links between local, regional and international research and development institutions.

W3735e50.GIF (15917 bytes)

Figure 2. Information flow relevant to the processes in domestication and commercialization of Cinderella tree species.
Key: _ = product flow; - -> = information flow.


Domestication and commercialization of trees for NTFP products can be for two target groups: resource-poor farmers and commercial entrepreneurs, and these involve different strategies. In agroforestry, it is the farmer-oriented strategy that is most relevant.

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