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Making Forests Pay: Appendix

Case Study – Frankincense Cooperative Marketing in Benishangul Gumuz

For many years, Farm Africa has worked with forest communities and local authorities in the Bale Eco-Region of Ethiopia to develop forest management plans that give communities responsibility for protecting their forests. In return they are allowed to use the forest’s resources as a source of income. A PFM project in Benishangul Gumuz is helping the government extend this approach to other forests. More specifically, the project works with communities to:

  • turn traditional activities such as raffia-weaving, making bamboo furniture and honey production into income-generating enterprises
  • find the best markets for their products and train them in effective marketing
  • protect their habitat by showing how to make stoves that use less firewood
  • take long-term responsibility for their environment by developing joint management plans for the forests

This case study provides some preliminary data on the impact the project is having on the Tune Forest Management Utilisation Cooperative (FMUC) in Famatsere Kebele. Analysis of the Cooperative’s data between 2012 and 2014 shows that:

  • average quantity and quality of incense sold per member increased and
  • average income per member went up.

The Famatsere cooperative membership also increased from five members to 17 members between 2012 and 2014; membership peaked at 24 people in 2013 but was reduced due to conflict in the area, causing many to migrate to safer regions.

There are early indications that the project may be having a positive impact on household income resilience. Interview data shows a much more reliable income source throughout the year which can act as a supporting income should any hazards cause strain on other livelihood incomes (such as crops or livestock).

The preliminary data analysis of this case study thus seems to indicate that it is possible to raise incomes significantly through NTFP cooperative marketing, potentially incentivising a shift towards more "forest-friendly" livelihood activities.

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