Report of National workshop on Protocol Development for Sustainable Governance of NTFP Resources
NTFP and Market Potential
Non-timber forest products (NTFP), which include hundreds of traded and locally used forest products of biological origin, employ millions of collectors, village traders and exporters in its concerned region, at least seasonally. As inadequate access to information and marketing support was found undermining the incomes of rural communities and entrepreneurs, and constraining the NTFP subsector development, a marketing information system (MIS) was developed in 2001. Marketing information services to local producers, collectors and trades was disseminated through establishing 7 MIS centres and using multiple channels of communication. Different types of information, such as price, value addition options and sustainable harvesting techniques were provided to the target clients. The MIS system collected price information of 32 traded NTFPs species from major markets in Nepal and India on a monthly and/or weekly basis. As a result, the bargaining power of local collectors, traders, and entrepreneurs increased and they received higher prices for their products.

NTFP Certification is very much essential while concerning for market potential of NTFP. It is said so, because certification is apprehended to be the voluntary marketing tool. Forests are in a very limited number these days, but the resources’ found as such, are abundant. And to scrap out from the profuse as well as to restore the ecological balance, is the prime criterion in leaning forward towards the potentiality of NTFP market.

Developing Market access is an ongoing market development activity visualized to act as a catalyst to promote community micro enterprises for their market promotion both in India and other developing countries on a sustained basis. This activity is being implemented on focus product approach to evolve specific strategy for specific market and specific product line through appropriate market assessments. Through this activity, business development assistance is being provided to all the four enterprises for enhancement of current market base through accessing new markets and through increasing the share in the existing markets.

Both supply and demand factors hinder more vibrant NTFP markets. On the supply side, producers often lack access to credit, technology, and skills. On the demand side, markets are often enshrouding in informal arrangements where traders have monopsony or oligopsony status. In combination, supply- and demand-side constraints mean that producers are typically demoted to the lowest step of the value added ladder. Where NTFPs are collected, over-production as a result of falling per unit prices can lead to the depletion of the resource base which, in turn, threatens producers’ livelihoods. The creation of well functioning NTFP markets where producers add more value will require both supply- and demand-side interventions.

Many of the policy issues most relevant to NTFP marketing and management are not NTFP specific, e.g., use rights. Supply chains are often inefficient because of broader regulatory measures restricting local or international trade. While many of these issues are also country specific, a global partnership can provide a forum for developing and sharing best practices among partner countries. Because of regional trade linkages many policies that govern trade also have implications for the marketing and management of NTFPs. The Partnership will provide a forum for recognizing cross-border issues and identifying ways — whether through coordinated policy or more formal supply chains — to address them.