Improving smallholders' participation in tree product value chains: experiences from the Congo Basin uri icon

abstract

  • In recent years, there has been increasing use of the value chain approach as a strategy to improve smallholder participation in markets. Despite the surge, not much is known about its effectiveness and specificity in the context of lesser known commodities such as non-timber forest products and agroforestry tree products. This paper documents the key lessons learned from the implementation of two major value chain projects related to lesser known species in the Congo basin, specifically in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Results from the project indicate the importance of combining value chain interventions in the domain of production, harvest and post-harvest, with activities that enhance the organisational and institutional environment, promote effective policies to support the commercialisation process, as well as assessing the impact of the interventions. It is recommended that in order to exploit the benefits of agroforestry value chains, it is important to take advantage of complementarities among value chain interventions, use differentiated strategies in order to reach out to the various target groups, understand the product and country specific issues to design interventions as well as promote effective policy environment that will improve domestication and planting of these species. It is concluded that the value chain approach has the potential to enhance smallholder participation in agroforestry products' markets, thereby improving their livelihood

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014