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The Commercialization of Non-Timber Forest Products

Time (GMT +00) 14:00 15:15

Elaine Marshall, International Coordinator Reducing Vulnerability Programme, Practical Action

Dirk Willem te Velde, ODI Research Fellow

Kate Schreckenberg, ODI Research Associate


Half the world’s poor depend on harvesting wild natural resources for their livelihoods. Non-timber forest products – the nuts, seeds, fibres, resins, fruits, oils and spices extracted from forests for human use – are of great interest to development and conservation organisations because of their high economic value and lower environmental impact. But while some 'fair trade' commercialisation projects have been successful, others have failed. Commercialization of Non-Timber Forest Products: Factors influencing success, edited by E. Marshall, K. Schreckenberg and A.C Newton, examines the factors that can lead to success, sustainability and the alleviation of poverty. The book considers access to markets, the role of entrepreneurs in value chains, and whether commercialisation can help support sustainable forest and resource management.

Based on the lessons from Mexico and Bolivia, the book also offers a model and support tools to enable effective decision-making by NGOs and other actors in assessing the viability of commercialisation projects. With a foreword by the Rt. Hon. Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for International Development, the research makes a valuable addition to understanding the ways in which non-timber product commercialisation can make a positive contribution to the livelihoods of the poor.

To discuss these findings, the authors and editors will be presenting the following aspects of the research:

Elaine Marshall (International Coordinator Reducing Vulnerability Programme, Practical Action) will provide a brief overview of the project.

Dirk Willem te Velde (ODI Research Fellow) will discuss entrepreneurship in value chains for non-timber forest products.

Kate Schreckenberg (ODI Research Associate) will talk about the potential of NFTP commercialisation as a means of ensuring resources conservation and poverty reduction.