8 member-countries of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) have decided to join hands to promote community-based sustainable management of Non-wood Forest Produce (NWFP).
- A 3 day meeting of the SAARC Expert Group on Community-based Sustainable Management of NWFP and Income Generation for Communities was recently held at the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI). It mooted on the establishment of legal, fiscal and market mechanisms to ensure sustainability of NWFP harvesting with community participation.
- The delegates also resolved to set up a comprehensive policy framework to legalise the collection, processing and certification of the products and to facilitate value addition.
- There was a general consensus on establishing a real-time market intelligence and monitoring system for high value forest produce.
- The expert group mooted steps to entrust local communities with the proprietorship of these resources.
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines NWFP as being “goods of biological origin other than wood derived from forests, other wooded land and trees outside forests”.
- NWFP may be gathered from the wild, or produced in forest plantations, agro-forestry schemes and from trees outside forests.
- Examples of NWFP include products used as food and food additives (edible nuts, mushrooms, fruits, herbs, spices and condiments, aromatic plants, game), fibres (used in construction, furniture, clothing or utensiles), resins, gums, and plant and animal products used for medicinal, cosmetic or cultural purposes.
- Some 80% of the population of the developing world use NWFP for health and nutritional needs. Women from poor households are generally those who rely more on NWFP for household use and income.
- NWFP have also attracted considerable global interests in recent years due to the increasing recognition of their contribution to environmental objectives, including the conservation of biological diversity.
News Item Compiled by Apoorv Kumar Choudhary