Community-based forest enterprise development
Institutional Capacity Building in Small Scale Enterprise Development in the Mountain Regions of Kyrgyzstan
PROJECT OBJECTIVES AND DESCRIPTION: A large proportion of inhabitants of Kyrgyzstan, mostly mountain dwellers, are on the verge of extreme poverty. Aside from farming, there are virtually no other forms of employment. The government of Kyrgyzstan, with the support of many partners, has been undertaking initiatives to enhance economic development. However, it lacks the technical capacity, expertise and knowledge to implement a programme for improved production, processing and marketing of high-value mountain products.
The government therefore requested assistance from FAO to address the critical need of building institutional capacity (at national, district and local levels) to identify and develop viable income-generating small-scale enterprises for poor inhabitants of mountain areas in the country. In response to the country request, FAO developed a proposal aimed at achieving institutional capacity through a training programme based on Market Analysis and Development (MA&D) approach.
The primary objective of the project is to assist the Government of Kyrgyzstan in building the institutional capacity at national, regional and local levels to develop and establish viable small-scale enterprises in mountain communities in order to provide them with income-generating activities that contribute to improved livelihoods and create incentives for sustainable development of mountain areas in Kyrgyzstan.
PROJECT PARTNERS AND STAKEHOLDERS:
- The National Centre for Development of Mountain Regions of Kyrgyzstan, the Government of Kyrgyzstan, the national NGO RDC-Elet
- Mountain dwelling communities
ACTIVITIES: The training programme based on MA&D was implemented by the National Centre for Development of Mountain Regions of Kyrgyzstan with support from three FAO Technical Services (the Forest Conservation Service, the Foresty Policy and Institutions Service and the Agricultural Management, Marketing and Finance Service). The National Centre was also assisted by RDC-Elet, a national NGO with expertise in community development, for the implementation of project field activities.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND OUTCOMES: A number of institutional capacity building activities were undertaken and most achieved various successes. For instance, women from a handicraft group in Tegirmenty village in the Northeast Chui region were able to expand their market even to the international level, and have increased their social standing within their communities and families. The group also expects that through their newly acquired skills and designs, they will be able to invest in improved machinery for their work. The Salkyn-Tor mushroom group in the Karol-Dobo village in the Northeast Chui region also increased profits and have plans for expansion, as did the Meer Chop medicinal herbs suppliers group.
However, two women’s group were unsuccessful in their attempts to bring their wild berry jam into the larger networks, including the Membership of Fruit and Vegetable Processors Association. A lack of reliable partners and high entry costs were the main restraints. Yet the women acknowledged that they gained immensely from the experience of developing their own enterprise. These lessons will guide future endeavours.
RELATED LINKS AND DOCUMENTS: For additional information on mountain development and watershed management please click here.