FAO and CIFOR conducted stock taking studies on community-based forest enterprises in few countries (Cameroon, Gabon, DRC, The Gambia and Ghana). Following these studies, FAO organized an expert meeting in Douala, Cameroon from 18-20 November 2015, involving 34 experts from 13 African countries and Indonesia. The participants were drawn from community-based forest enterprises, community forests, forest producer organizations, governmental institutions, NGOs, research organizations, private sector, UN agencies and other international/national organizations. During this meeting, the findings of the stock taking studies were discussed and key challenges and opportunities for sustainable development of small scale forest enterprises (SSFE) in Africa were identified and agreed.
The outcomes of the SSFE Africa expert meeting were presented at the twenty-first session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission held in Dakar (Senegal) from 19-23 June 2018. As part of the recommendations of Dakar’s AWFC relevant to SSFE development in Africa, ‘’countries were encouraged to further develop-non wood forest products value chains in order to enhance rural economies”.
This project is the planned follow-up meeting building on the above chain of work on SSFE conducted by FAO in Africa with the aim to discuss and agree on a realistic and workable Africa SSFE initiative that can be implemented in few countries by handful of partners with shared responsibilities and under FAO’s leadership and coordination. Such Africa SSFE initiative or programme targets both wood and non-wood forest products and includes countries with varied forest cover as well as countries both advanced and less advanced in the decentralization of forest management and in the commercialization of forest products by local communities.
The intended direct beneficiaries of the Africa SSFE programme are forest user groups, individuals, forest small holders and associations of forest small holders involved in the commercialization and/or production/processing of timber and non-wood forest products. The indirect beneficiaries include governments of African countries, private sectors, civil society organizations and consumers of SSFE products.