|intro||AgriCord -MTK - FAO cooperation on smallholder forest producers' associations in developing countries started in 2009. Three regional level pilot projects are now operational in Ethiopia and Vietnam.|
Faced with rural poverty, deforestation and land degradation, many developing countries such as Ethiopia, Vietnam, Laos, Kenya and Tanzania are revising their forestry strategies. They promote sustainable forest production that can be controlled and managed locally by smallholders. Unlike in agriculture, forest producers have not yet started their own organisations in developing countries to provide services to family forestry. This is where AgriCord and MTK-Finland can help family forest producers to help themselves.
Vietnam, for example, is one of the 10 biggest furniture producers in the word. It exports 90% of its production, but at the same time 90% of the raw material is imported. Import substitution can be a good potential income generating activity for smallholder forest producers, but this requires certification that the wood is produced in a sustainable way. Until now, Vietnam does not have any organisations to support the smallholder forest producers in input supply, extension, marketing and organising group certification.
From left to right: Sophie Grouwels (FAO-Forest Connect), Ignace Coussement (AgriCord), Jerker Thunberg (FAO-nfp facility), Eduardo Rojas-Briales (FAO-Assistant Director General) and Tapio Kytola (MTK). Picture: Lennart Ackzell
Finland has more than 100 years' experience of smallholders' forest production through their own organisations. FAO, AgriCord and MTK (the Finnish Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners) have initiated a Smallholder Forest Producers' Association Development Fund with support from the Government of Finland. The Fund makes it possible to initiate support family forestry in countries with feasible forest policies. Such pilot projects have now been initiated in Ethiopia and Vietnam, where the Finnish forest producers' organisations will assist with advisory services. The recent meeting of the Fund considered important to pay attention to the following issues to ensure success in the pilot projects:
- Maintenance of democratic (cooperative) principles in such member-based organisations,
The meeting with FAO concluded that scaling-up of successful pilot projects should be initiated as soon as possible to encourage livelihood diversification by sustainable forestry to reach wider in the rural areas. This will help to reduced poverty, increase forest cover and mitigate climate change.
|specialisms||| Forestry ||