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
(B) Community social and economic context
(C) Natural resource issues
Some general points emerging from these results are presented below (see Marshall et al. 2006 for a more detailed discussion):