Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme

Twenty extraordinary years of NTFP-EP

March 2, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – In 1989, the Netherlands Committee for IUCN (NC-IUCN) conducted one of the pioneer comprehensive field-level surveys on the economic and ecological role of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in Southeast Asia. The groundbreaking publication by de Beer and McDermott lay the groundwork for greater recognition of the importance of NTFPs for people and forests. It surfaced not only the many constraints that local communities are facing but as well as the growing pressures on forest environments.

Various promising initiatives that were geared towards the sustainable management of NTFPs at that time have become emergent in local communities in Southeast Asia. It appeared however that most groups are as yet much absorbed in addressing local issues while lacking in strategic information and access to financial and technical support.

Tapping the potentials of NTFP development through a community-based approach, a group of passion-driven experts from various fields organized a series of exchanges among local organizations in the region. This has provided a platform that resounded the growing interest in better collaboration both at the national and regional levels in order to strengthen capacities and achieve policy reforms.

Through the support of ProFound, NC-IUCN, and BothENDs, the Non-Timber Forest Products–Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP) officially began in 1998 with the main objective of building capacity among local stakeholders to deal with the various aspects of NTFP development: resource management, food security, subsistence use, marketing, and networking. Operating loosely with member organizations in a few countries located in Southand Southeast Asia, NTFP-EP has then evolved into a strong collaborative network of non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations acting as catalysts for the voices of forest-dependent local and indigenous communities in the region.

Constantly innovating, learning, sharing, and aspiring while staying true to the NTFP ideology that started it all, NTFP-EP’s niche has always been emphasizing the intrinsic link between people and forests. This has translated to concrete successes in its thematic work in community-based conservation, tenure rights and governance, indigenous food and health, sustainable community livelihoods, culture, and gender through the years. At present, NTFP-EP has expanded its roots to six countries: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam, facilitating civil society participation from the local to global networks.

While NTFP-EP had much to learn as a network, we also have much to celebrate over our twenty years of existence. We would like to thank our funders who have supported us through the years. We’re definitely looking forward to the next twenty years of self-empowered generations of forest-dependent communities celebrating traditional knowledge and cultural traditions and contributing to and benefiting from sustainably managed forests resources.


Stay updated on our network’s events as we celebrate twenty years of linking people and forests this 2018!