Community-based forest enterprise development
Mobilisation and capacity building for SMEs involved in the production and commercialisation of non-wood forest products in Central AfricaAfrican woman slicing gnetum at a local market
This project, titled ‘Mobilisation and capacity building for small and medium scale enterprises involved in the production and commercialisation of non-wood forest products (NWFP) in Central Africa (GCP/RAF/408/EC Project)’, is financed by the European Union for a period of four years (2007-2010). The project aims at increasing the revenues of rural populations by building enterpreneurial capacities and ensuring sustainable resource management within enabling institutional settings.
The project is being implemented in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) , the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) and the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) . FAO is coordinating the project to ensure the efficient intervention of all partners towards the achievement of project objectives.
The project supports the Executive Secretariat of the Central Africa Forestry Commission (COMIFAC) and its member countries to improve the capacity of small and medium enterprises based on NWFP and develop the appropriate policies for sustainable development of the NWFP sector in the region. The project started in 2007 for duration of 4 years, and will be implemented in:
- four sites in Cameroon: Center-South-Littoral Province, North-West Province, South-West-West Province and East Province.
- three sites in Democratic Republic of Congo: Kinshasa, Equateur and Bas-Congo.
Main objectives of the project
- Ensure increased revenue for local producers/groups based on key NWFP production and commercialization.
- Improve entrepreneurial and marketing skills.
- Ensure sustainable resource production and harvesting techniques.
- Improve processing for local value addition.
- Improve access to market information & credit.
- Provide an enabling policy and institutional environment.
The strategic pathways to be followed by the project include: local value addition, raising awareness, direct support to regeneration efforts/business start-ups/monitoring, revision of legal provisions and where possible assist in the process to secure export licenses by organised local associations. Caution is paid to gradually move into advanced transformation stages to standardise products for local, regional and international markets. This serves as a risk aversion strategy in terms of possibility of business/market failures and/or rejection by local people. The project concentrates on strengthening existing associations and institutions within six thematic areas, notably:
- Knowledge of resource stock for business investment decisions. Local expertise exists on resource assessment and would be explored by the project.
- Level of transformation and packaging could add value for producers and exporters in the country with consequences for greater employment and capture of benefits.
- Production in terms of increasing planting and nursery operations. Increasing production, resource access and reducing transaction costs are unavoidable milestones to attain. Producing quality products of uniform grade are cornerstones for business development.
- Business skills and market organisation. Improve market performance in terms of exploring benefits from trade related instruments such as certification. Improve market information and know better what consumers want, stimulate forms of associations between small entrepreneurs and relevant service providers, etc.
- Legal procedures and institutional hurdles. Improve institutional supports and removal of bottlenecks in permit systems and transport products for NWFP needs to be adapted to business realities.
- Access to Capital and equipment. Facilitate access to credits and provide pilot transformation units to articulate interests and build capacities.
The target groups of the project are:
- Private sector (SMFEs and other private actors involved in the forest sector)
- People’s organizations
- Governmental and non-governmental organizations
- Regional institutions
- Business development services providers
- Research institutions
- Socio-economic: 151 SME created and supported, over 3500 direct beneficiaries, 40% women; 35% increase in income etc.
- Political/institutional: Letter of appreciation from the Cameroonian minister in charge of forestry to FAO and EU, FAO as leader of NWFP theme in the process of revising the forestry law in the Central African region, FAO takes leadership in setting up NWFP working groups, recommendations of the project included in the annual report of Forest and environment sector Programme of MINFOF, results of the project used to argument the removal of the CITES ban on Prunus africana export from Cameroon etc.
- Environmental: 75 nurseries created and supported, producing over 1,500,000 seedlings of key NWFP for integration into agro-ecosystems, extension of appropriate harvesting practices for key NWFPs, etc.
- Technological: Design and production of bush-mango splitting machines, design and sensitization on market information systems for NWFP.
- Scientific: Six international conference papers presented including COFO 2010, IUFRO and World Forestry Congress; six scientific articles submitted to international journals; over 30 other publications.
Policy briefs on “Mobilization and capacity-building for small and medium-scale enterprises involved in the non-wood forest products value chains in Central Africa”:
- Policy Brief No. 6 (April 2010)
- Policy Brief No. 5 (April 2010)
- Policy Brief No. 4 (January 2010)
- Policy Brief No. 3 (December 2009)
- Policy Brief No. 2 (December 2009)
- Policy Brief No. 1 (October 2009)
Other related reports and publications
- Guide for small and medium enterprises in sustainable non-timber forest trade in Central Africa (2013)
- Nature & Fauna, Volume 25, Issue 2, 2011
- Final project report (in French only)
- Technical report: Domestication of Irvingia gabonensis (in French only)
- Technical report: Domestication of Acacia senegal (in French only)
- 2010 Rapport d'avancement du projet
- Summary of main results and impacts of the project (French)
- Enhancing the contribution of non wood forest products to poverty alleviation and food security in Central African countries An information brief on the exchange and study tour from Cameroon to Gabon on the entrepreneurial development of the non wood forest products sector (November 2010)
- Article: Where "food security", "health" and "income" grow on trees: opportunities for forest-dependant entrepreneurs in Central Africa (2010)
- Information on the project activities and the role of partners available in this document: Project document - Description of the action
- Small-scale forestry and non-wood forest products enterprise development for poverty alleviation in Central Africa
- Hidden costs & values: NTFP market chains in Central Africa (2009)
- PROMOTE 2011: Salon international de l’Entreprise, de la PME et du Partenariat (in French only)
For further information please contact:
Tieguhong Julius Chupezi
Useni Kembolo Marcel