Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme

Exchange News:May 2002 – April 2003

June 28, 2003

Activities and developments during the last year of the project are as follows:

1. India
Two major meetings took place during the last 8 months, one in Ooty (Nilgiris) and one in Jagdalpur (Bastar). In both meetings a fine mix of NGO’s, ‘practical academics’ and –particularly in Bastar a large group of tribal representatives. In addition, a selected group of senior officials from the local government participated in the discussions.

The annual Regional EP Meeting was held in Ooty, August 2002. During that meeting, which was made possible through a grant from the Ford Foundation, the need for establishing a NTFP network in India was confirmed, and fields of collaboration, especially in terms of exchange of experiences were identified.

Since Ooty, the EP NTFP network in India has been rapidly expanding. While until recently confined to parts of the Western Ghats, it now includes strong contacts in the Central Eastern part of the country. A follow-up workshop took place in Jagdalpur (Bastar) between 21 and 22 of February, 2003. The workshop got financial support from Global Green Grant. For more information on this meeting please refer to separate article ‘Jihar! Greetings from Bastar’.

At the end of the Bastar meeting, Keystone took it upon itself to host the India NTFP Network’s secretariat.

2. Philippines
The NTFP-Task Force will soon be hosted by the Upland Marketing Foundation Inc. (UMFI) instead of the Upland NGO Assistance Committee (UNAC). Most of the key persons remain the same and that goes for the office address as well.
An article in Voices-5 ‘Crafts are Hard to Sell’ expressed some frustration with finding funding for craft development. However, soon after, the DOEN Foundation approved a proposal for start-up of a Crafts Centre in the Philippines. The Crafts Centre serves as the consolidation and assembly point of raw and semi-processed materials delivered by partner communities. The Centre takes the lead in product development, design, assembly, finishing and marketing. The Centre also provides training, marketing, and strategy development services for producer groups. One priority activity of the Task Force is to document the sustainable harvesting practices of NTFPs used by the Centre. These will be placed on specialised labels for crafts products along with the age-old accounts relating the culture and tradition behind the use of such materials. One niche market that the centre is focusing on is the ‘conference kit market’.

The Upland Marketing Foundation has developed a new quality seal with the slogan “Quality that Cares” which espouses principles of product quality without compromising the concern for the environment and general health of producers and consumers. UMFI plans to document and monitor operations of its supplier groups to determine if such principles are met.

Last October 2002, a participatory NTFP Inventory Workshop was conducted in Negros Occidental with NTFP-TF partner Borad Initiatives for Negros Development (BIND). This was facilitated by EP expert and friend, Mary Stockdale. Please see separate article in NBTA for more information on the workshop.

The NTFP-TF also coordinated two re-echo trainings on beekeeping and proper honey harvesting and processing in Palawan (Dec 2002) and Mindoro (March 2003). Resource persons from the UPLB Bee Program conducted the trainings. Since then a proper harvesting and collection scheme has been established with indigenous NATRIPAL partners in Palawan. Plastic materials (20×30 inch with 0.2 mm thickness) were sourced out for honey hunters for better sanitation and segregation of honey collection and honey products. Twelve gallons of honey from this new scheme have already been sold to the Centre for International Trade and Export Promotions (CITEM) in the last week of April 2003. CITEM has also expressed interest in promoting the wild honey produced by NATRIPAL by providing them media exposure on television and in newspapers – covering honey hunting, collection and processing. UNAC has also provided financial support to NATRIPAL for the establishment of a honey processing centre.

A comics-manual on the systematic method of harvesting wild honey is also being developed. This information material, with the aim of improving honey quality (i.e., preventing adulteration by adding sugar and minimising contamination at the village level), will be pre-tested at the community level this May 2003.
The NTFP-TF has also recently been able to source small grants for trainings, advocacy projects and mobilisation activities for its partners and contacts. BothENDs has generously supported the march and dialogue of 400 IPs (October 2003) to the office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). BothENDS and the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) have both committed to support representatives from NATRIPAL and AnthroWatch to attend training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in California in June – July 2003. This training will support the mapping work for ancestral domains currently being conducted by both organisations. Finally, Grassroots Foundation has provided funding for ancestral domain delineation and advocacy work in Southern Palawan for the Molbog and Pala’wan tribes there.

For other developments and more detail see the last two issues of Not By Timber Alone (NBTA).

3. Sarawak
Two Dayak Benuaq traveled from the Mahakam river (East Kalimantan) to the hulu Baram to give training towards rattan cultivation in the framework of Community Forest Rehabilitation Initiative of the Penan (May 2002).
Community Mapping: Recently BRIMAS has taken steps for a re-start of its CM activities. On request, Manila-based PAFID provided TA for this purpose during a visit in October 2002.

4. Vietnam
The Ethnic Minority Medicinal Plant Network, in collaboration with TEW, is preparing the publication of two bilingual books, respectively covering Dzao and Hmuong knowledge relating to herbal medicinal. The books are composed by members of the network and the release is expected at the end of the year.

5. Indonesia
It was in the air for a long time, but now the groundwork for an Indonesian Forest Honey Network is being laid. A pilot is about to start in Danau Sentarum, West Kalimantan, while Riak Bumi, in collaboration with Dian Tama will be in charge of co-ordination.

NTFP Focal Point: after quite some time, a new coordinator, Mrs. Nindyah has recently arrived in Bogor. She will be in charge of a vigorous re-start of the FP.
P3R, The Association of Rattan Farmers & Craft Makers in Kedang Pahu, East Kalimantan, has developed and field-tested a system of self-monitoring of the rattan harvest. The system has been codified in a manual and a protocol. Meanwhile, P3R members recently decided to establish a separate unit for its business activities. The trade unit will be established in the form of a Limited Liability Company. Finally, preparations are under way for extension of activities to Central Sulawesi.
EP gave input to the ‘Bolsa Nusantara Workshop’, held inYogyakarta, March 2003. The workshop aimed to explore possible collaboration between different stakeholders in order to promote the trade from sustainably produced Indonesian bio-products. The idea was inspired by the experience of Bolsa Amazonia in Latin America. Among the stakeholders involved were: community-based initiatives, NGOs, segments of the industry, government agencies and scientific institutes. Currently, a small group of volunteers is in the process of designing a follow-up plan.

6. Exchange Visits
Two exchange visits and an internship took place during the past period. All were funded by, and organised in collaboration with, VSO-SPARKS.
Philippines to Indonesia. A group of seven Indigenous Peoples and NGO’s of the NTFP-task Force participated in this visit. Main objective is to study customary forest management systems in Indonesia. For this purpose the group visited the islands of Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Java. The team itself shared its experiences with ancestral domain management. See also article ‘Discovering Indonesian Adat’ in NBTA 4.

‘Bupati Visit’ Indonesia to the Philippines. A mixed group of local government officials and NGO’s from Sumba, Central Java and East Kalimantan came to the Philippines in March 2003. Visited Nueva Viscayas and the Mountain Province. Objective is to learn from local government/NGO and PO collaboration in the field of forest resource management, particularly in the framework of ancestral domains.
Internship co-ordinator Philippine Crafts Centre (Nola) with Dian Niaga/ Dian Tama (Jakarta/Pontianak): April 2003.

7. The annual EP Steering Committee Meeting took place in Ooty, August 2002.

AGENDA May – September, 2003

Although many planned activities had to be put on hold because of (almost total) lack of funding, the following is still scheduled for the period between May and September, 2003

Community Forest Rehabilitation Workshop Baram, Sarawak: June or October
EP Regional Meeting in Kalahan, Nueva Viscayas: September.  Main theme: ‘Evaluation/Monitoring’. The theme relates to:
a)   self-monitoring of NTFP harvest and the inventory of stocks;
b)   measuring (expected) results of EP and activities on the ground.

Study Visit Honey Processing: Danau Sentarum/Gunung Meratus (Riak Bumi, Indonesia) to Nilgiris (Keystone, India): June/July.
Research- Resource Access within CADTs in the Philippines: second halve of 2003.

Written by:
Editors ‘Voices from the Forest’