Smallholder Forest Producer Associations in Developing Countries (SFPA Development Fund)

To capitalize on governments' gradual recognition that small holder agro-forestry farmers ´ active cooperation is required in policy making for sustainable forestry management, the SFPA Development Fund has been created with the general objective to support the establishment and functioning of smallholder farmers’ own organizations in the forestry sector both in timber and non-timber forest products in developing countries.

The specific objective of SFPAs is to promote a sustainable management of family, community and Indigenous forests (across contexts where different rights prevail)  to offer products and services to the society. Smallholder agroforestry farmers will benefit from their participation in ecosystem services through their SFPAs.

Supported by FAO, Agricord, the Finnish Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), Farmers Fighting Poverty, Forest Connect and the NFP Facility, the core principles of the SFPA Development Fund programme are to:

  • Comply with all relevant international treaties or agreements to which the target country’s government is signatory,
  • Honour the applicable regulations at the national level and below (while respecting customary rights as well),
  • Follow a broad-based participatory process within the target country and area, paying special attention to the rights, resources and responses of communities and populations impacted,
  • While taking global best practices and guidance into account, recognize that national and local customization is necessary.

The programme will be implemented over four years, 2010-2013. A further expansion will be planned if initial experiences are positive. The programme will initially cover 5-7 selected developing countries of the following: Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Nepal, Vietnam and Nicaragua through funding by the Finnish government as well as other countries depending on availability of other sources of funding.

Activities have already been started in the Amhara region in Ethiopia and planning is going on for initiation of activities in the Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue provinces in Vietnam.


The activities of the SFPA Development Fund will include:

1) Prospection to identify suitable organizations to host SFPA units at regional level

2) Feasibility studies into the potential of smallholder forestry associations at the local level

3) Mobilization of support and setting-up of SFPA coordination units

4) Pilot projects including exchanges of experience at the regional level and support to local level forestry associations

5) Monitoring/evaluation, joint learning and collaboration between partners


Relevant documents:


News and updates:

Meeting of SFPA Fund supporting organizations held at FAO on 3 September 2010

A meeting of the organizations supporting the SFPA Fund was held recently. The meeting concluded that scaling-up of successful pilot projects should be initiated as soon as possible to encourage livelihood diversification by sustainable forestry to reach wider in the rural areas. This will help to reduce poverty, increase forest cover and mitigate climate change. For a complete article about this meeting, please visit Agricord or Agro-infonet.

From left to right: Sophie Grouwels (FAO-Forest Connect), Ignace Coussement (AgriCord), Jerker Thunberg (FAO-nfp facility), Eduardo Rojas-Briales (FAO-Assistant Director General) and Tapio Kytola (MTK). Picture: Lennart Ackzell

Tree growing booming in Ethiopia
Tree growing is increasing rapidly in the Amhara region in Ethiopia. Major drivers are the market conditions, the land tenure process and advice from Finnish family forest organisations. Farmers are engaged in expanding woodlots and converting agricultural land into family forestry plantations. This project is part of the SFPA Development Fund, and the Finnish Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) will make advisory services available for family forestry in a twinning partnership. Funding for the project is provided by the Finnish government. The project will focus on management capacity and service delivery for concrete financial benefits from sustainable forestry in the pilot areas. The project will involve three cooperatives with a direct outreach of 700 households. Zenbaba Union is the implementing host organisation in the Amhara region and Kyyjärvi Forest Owners’ Association will serve as the twinning partner in Finland. For more information, please visit the website of the International Family Forestry Alliance

last updated:  Tuesday, July 29, 2014