The trade environment


National and local trade
Regional and international trade
Trends in international NWFP trade
International trade agreements



Market transactions are influenced by trade regulations and other related factors and trends. Although a full discussion of these factors is beyond the scope of this volume, this section briefly reviews their effect on producers entering NWFP markets.

National and local trade


Policies and regulations governing NWFPs are often confusing. Because these products can originate from either domesticated sources or natural forests, they can come under agricultural, forestry and/or other government policies (see Chapter 10). In India, tree-farmer cooperatives knew the obstacles posed by laws forbidding transport of tree products across state borders, and managed to negotiate better legal terms (see Chapter 8).

Text box 7.3: Some lessons in green marketing

The "Tagua Initiative" managed by Conservation International aims at marketing "vegetable ivory" from the tagua palm of Ecuador and Colombia to garment manufacturers in the United States for use as buttons. In its first year, the project generated sales of US$ 500,000. The project promoted tagua as a high-quality material and its sale as a way to conserve tropical forests through sustainable community development. After almost three years, lessons learned included:

1. The conservation impact is greatest when integrated with community development, scientific research, education, and policy work.

2. International marketing of NWFPs brings together at least two very different cultures and economies. To succeed, projects must be carefully designed to accommodate the distinct needs of these disparate worlds, and good communication among all parties is a must.

3. Community - level enterprise development must be geared to local development.

4. The products must be profitable for every player in the economic chain.

5. Local enterprises should be supported with loans rather than grants, wherever possible, to encourage focus and a sense of ownership.

6. Options for local processing should be pursued.

7. Opportunities in local and national markets, in addition to international markets should be explored (Tangley, 1993).

Cultural Survival Enterprises, also begun in 1990, has worked with groups in the Brazilian Amazon to market NWFPs in the United States. In its first two years it averaged 400 percent growth. Further lessons in green marketing from its experience include:

• Start with products already on the market. Introducing new products can take up to five years for foods, 10 for personal-care products, and 20 for pharmaceuticals.

• Organize for strength in numbers.

• Monitor the sustainability of production. Green-market consumers are interested in protecting ecosystems, not the people who live in them (Clay and Clement, 1993).



Regional and international trade


Neighbouring countries in a region often have similar resources and markets. Table 7.3 shows some internationally traded species common to Latin American countries and the non-wood products they yield. Producers of NWFPs in Asia have begun to explore the species and technology they use in common (Durst et al., 1994). Where this kind of overlap exists, neighbouring countries can benefit from collaborative research in harvesting and processing, and in negotiating trade terms.

Table 7.3: Amazonian forest species with market potential in agroforestry and sustainable NWFP management systems

Species name

Uses1

Current markets2

Assai (Euterpe oleracea)

F,B,Ph,H

F,L,N,I

Buriti (Mauritia flexuosa)

F,B,H

F,L

Patauá (Jessenia bataua)

F,B,O

F

Pejibaye (Bactris gasipaes)

F,B,O, Ph

F,L

Piqui (Caryocar villosum)

F,O,T,Ch

F

Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa)

N,O,T,Ch,H, N

F,L,N,I

Pendula nut (Couepia longipendula)

N

F

Bacuri (Platonia insignia)

F,N,T,Ch

F,L

Camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia)

F

F,L

Cupuassu (Theobroma grandiflorum)

F,O,C

F,L,R,N,I

Copaíba (Copaifera multijuga)

O,P,M

F,L,R,I

Jatobá (Hymenaea courbaril)

F,R,T

F

Andiroba (Carapa guianensis)

O,M,T

F,R

Babassu (Orbignya phalerata)

O,Ch

F,L,R,N

Ucuúba (Virola surinamensis)

T,O

?

Cumaru (Dipteryx odorata)

O,E,P,T

F,L,I

Rosewood (Aniba ducked)

E,P,I,H

I

Sacaca (Croton cajucara)

M,E

F,L

Tagua (Phytelephas aequatorialis)

N,H

F,N,I

1Uses: B=beverage; C=cosmetic; Ch=charcoal; E=essential oil; F=fruit; H=handicrafts; M=medicinal; N=nut; P=perfurne; Ph=palm heart; R=resin; T=timber; O=other.

2Current markets: F=family; L=local; R=regional (subnational); N=national; I=international.

(Clay and Clement, 1993)