Although trade in non-timber forest products (NTFPs) has been widely promoted as an approach to rural development, recent research has indicated that NTFP commercialisation is often not successful. Analysis of the factors influencing success of NTFP commercialisation has been hindered by the lack of an appropriate analytical approach for comparison of case studies. We tested and further developed a methodology recently developed by CIFOR, by examining 16 NTFP case studies in two workshops held in Mexico and Bolivia involving a variety of stakeholders involved in NTFP commercialisation.
Workshop participants identified a wide range of measures by which the success of NTFP commercialisation can be defined, which included improvements in social justice, community organisation and local culture, as well as economic status. Participants then considered the factors influencing the processes involved in NTFP commercialisation: production, collection, processing, storage, transport, marketing and sale. In total 45 factors were identified that significantly limit one of the commercialisation processes. Generally product marketing and sale were found to be those processes most constraining overall success. These results illustrate how participatory methods can be of value in analysing the success of NTFP commercialisation, and how a process-based approach can provide an analytical framework for comparison of NTFP case studies.
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