APPENDIX 3. The CEPFOR project.

CEPFOR is an interdisciplinary research project that has investigated 19 NTFP commercialization case studies in Bolivia and Mexico (Marshall et al. 2003, 2006, te Velde et al. 2006), with the explicit aim of identifying the factors influencing success of commercialization. For each product a structured ‘market’ report was written based on a combination of secondary data and key informant interviews at various points along the market chain. These reports described the main market chains for the product, beginning in the study communities and tracking information as far downstream to the final consumer as possible. For each of the case studies a structured ‘community’ report was also written, based on secondary information and data collected by partner NGOs using participatory techniques (such as timelines, resource mapping, wealth-ranking, Venn diagrams) and key informant interviews.

The data collected covered a wide range of topics necessary for the understanding of current patterns of resource use and management, with a focus on the collection, cultivation, processing and marketing of the case study NTFP. In addition, a formal household questionnaire was used to collect data about the household, its use of the NTFP including any costs and benefits incurred, and the interviewees’ perceptions of the household’s success and the contribution of NTFPs to their livelihood strategy. In 2002/3 the questionnaire was applied to a total of 289 households divided between the case study communities. Households were sampled using a stratified approach on the basis of participatory wealth-ranking. A further 117 households not involved in NTFP activities were also interviewed to provide controls. In addition 46 national traders were interviewed using a slightly modified version of the questionnaire. Data analysis included comparative text analysis of the community reports, statistical analysis (principally correlation and regression analysis) of the household data, and construction of value chains (on the basis of the household data and the market reports) for each case study. Full results are presented by Marshall et al. (2006).

These research results were used to identify a list of factors that were found to most influence the process of NTFP commercialization in the case studies examined. For each factor, supporting evidence was available indicating that the factor has a significant influence on the commercialization on one or more of the NTFP case studies examined. Factors were included on the list if they were identified by the participatory research methods (i.e. mentioned by respondents in the informant interviews or questionnaires), or the statistical analysis of household data. These factors include the characteristics of the product to be commercialized, but also include the socio-economic characteristics of the communities involved, and the characteristics of the value chain.

A total of 66 factors were included on the list (App. 4). Each of the factors was then scored for all of the 19 case studies. Scoring was performed by members of the research team familiar with all of the case studies, and was based on all the information sources generated during the research. The nature of the scores differed between the factors, but in the majority of cases a simple Boolean response was employed, indicating whether or not there was any evidence that a given factor had influenced the process of commercialization in that particular case. A complete set of the scores is appended (App. 4).

Those factors that limited NTFP commercialization in more than 60 per cent of the case studies are listed below, grouped into three categories. The percentage value given in brackets represents the proportion of communities in which a particular factor limited success by reducing the availability of physical, natural, financial, human and social capital assets required for commercialization.

(A) Structure and function of the value chain
  • Inequitable exertion of market power along the value chain (79)
  • Price of the product does not vary in response to changing costs of production (74)
  • Low development of the brand identity (74)
  • Lack of an organization that links producers or processors to buyers (74)
  • NTFP value chain does not use the value chain of other products (68)
  • Lack of provision of financial capital to commercialization (e.g. credit and loans) by entrepreneurs (68)
  • No traditional link between the producers and the consumers (68)
  • Producers do not have good access to market information (price, quantity, quality) (68)
  • Consumer preference for product quality is not reflected in the price paid to producers (63)
  • Lack of entrepreneurs facilitating NTFP commercialization (e.g. through market information and contacts) (63)

(B) Community social and economic context
  • Lack of a communication network (68)
  • No external financial support available in the form of credit or loans (68)
  • Low level of integration of producers into the cash economy (63)

(C) Natural resource issues
  • NTFP quality is adversely affected by poor harvesting methods (74)
  • Limited amount of resource available (68)
  • Competing land uses for NTFP production areas (63)

Some general points emerging from these results are presented below (see Marshall et al. 2006 for a more detailed discussion):

  • The most widespread constraint to commercialisation among the case studies was inequitable exertion of market power along the value chain, reported in 79% of cases. Other widespread factors, affecting 74% of cases, were that the price of the product does not vary in response to changing costs of production, low development of the brand identity, lack of an organization that links producers or processors to buyers, and NTFP quality being adversely affected by poor harvesting methods.
  • The grouping of the factors highlights the fact that value chain issues were particularly widespread for households and communities, with factors relating to natural-resource issues or the social and economic context of communities being of importance to a relatively low proportion of case studies.
  • Households, communities and traders showed a high degree of innovation in overcoming factors constraining successful NTFP commercialization. Some factors, however, such as integration of producers into the cash economy, were outside their control. Understanding the degree to which different actors in the NTFP value chain are able to influence different factors is important for determining appropriate policy interventions.
  • The linked nature of some of the factors – e.g. lack of producer/processor organization can result in inequitable exertion of market power by other actors in the value chain – suggests the need to recognize that policy interventions designed to address one factor may have knock-on effects on other factors.
  • Not all factors are equally amenable to policy- or project-level interventions, and such interventions differ in terms of their impacts. The CEPFOR decision support tool, based on the BBN, allows users to explore the potential impacts of different policy scenarios on households and communities, by amending the values of factor scores (App. 7).