6 Approach to development of non-wood forest products


6.1 Multi-disciplinary collaboration
6.2 Geographical and product priorities
6.3 Stages in product development
6.4 Education, training and research



6.1 Multi-disciplinary collaboration


The development of NWFP must be a multi-disciplinary approach carried out in collaboration with appropriate specialists within FAO and other international and national organizations. Within the Forestry Department close collaboration with specialists in the Forest Resources Division and with Community Forestry will be essential. Appropriate initial interactions with other FAO Departments and other agencies are elucidated in Tables 5.1 and 5.2, respectively.

6.2 Geographical and product priorities


The advantage in selecting a humid region for development is that there is a wide range of suitable plant and animal products that can be developed. Apart from the Sahel, where the struggle is for rehabilitation and survival rather than improvement, the arid regions offer opportunities for development but, where these do occur, they could be highly beneficial. Urgent consideration should be given to establishing non-wood product projects in the subhumid Sudanian zone, immediately to the south of the Sahel, to help prevent the advance of desertification.

The selection of priority products for development, irrespective of geographical regions, is determined by three major necessities for life, namely food and beverage, forage and medicine. As a general rule, these should receive priority over the other products listed in Tables 1.1-3, since the advantages from their development would be expected to benefit a wider range of people. Products that promise to increase rural incomes and employment as well as provide for these basic needs should receive highest priority. A description of product areas for priority development is mentioned in Chapter 4.

6.3 Stages in product development


The various stages in the development of a product, from its initial discovery to eventual marketing are shown in Appendix A. FAO's NWFP programme may in certain cases initiate and co-ordinate these stages at the project level. New NWFP product development activities are more likely to be identified from within a larger project than to come as a direct request by the country concerned.

Collaboration with other Departments within FAO, and when required, consultative panels may be formed to guide this process. Such panels would likely include representatives from FAO, national institutions within one or more project areas, with international specialists in a particular field.

Before taking any such action a dossier should be drawn up showing the present state of knowledge regarding a particular product, bringing together information not only throughout the entire distribution range of the plant or animal involved, but also related to the sustainable management of the resources. This is most effectively carried out by a short-term consultant conversant with the product at issue. Efforts should be made to amplify the available consultant and institutional pool to support efforts in this area.

6.4 Education, training and research


In Chapter 2 there are several references for the need to educate the people in the developing countries to be more appreciative of the value of their own natural resources, as well as the need to strengthen some training and research facilities.

When necessary, training should be organized in any new skills required and back-up support should be given to appropriate research institutions. Appropriate demonstrations could be arranged for visiting public and officials. Publicity should be given at both local and national level to sustainable utilization of NWFP. These aspects require the collaboration of the Forest Research, Education and Training Branch.