Tree and forest product clearinghouses
The concept of a clearinghouse refers to the role of an independent agency in facilitating provision of technical advice and marketing information to farmers and producers groups, and product sources to potential buyers and purchasers. This is a model that has been used in agricultural production for some time (e.g. commodity boards such as coffee, tea etc.). In Latin America, such services are currently being provided to horticultural producers in the region via Internet subscription to a marketing Web page. In Europe, some of the private forest owners associations registered with the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) use this type of Internet-based clearinghouse model to advertise and market their timber.
The clearinghouse model is of increasing relevance for the South because increasing areas of forest are closed for conservation and more timber will be required to be produced outside the forest. Timber will increasingly be produced by smallholders and mechanisms are required to facilitate the flow of information to smallholders and the collective marketing of their tree and forest products.
Several related programmes are under development.
For more information visit:Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF)
Forest Action Network (FAN)