Le marche des produits forestiers non ligneux de l'Afrique Centrale en France et en Belgique: produits, acteurs, circuits de distribution et debouches actuels

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In France and Belgium, ther has been a trade of non-timber forest products from Central Africa for nearly 30 years. Traded products come chiefly, by order of importance, from Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are many (45 in total, of which 13 come from native species), but the more regularly imported are saka-saka or cassava leaves (Manihot esculenta), ndolé (Vernonia sp), fumbua or koko (Gnetum africanum and G. buchholzianum), safou or bush butter (Dacryodes edulis), many spices and condiments such as njansan (Ricinodendron heudelotii), wild mango (Irvingia gabonensis), pèbè (Monodora myristica), and two stimulants: kola nut (Cola acuminata and C. nitida) and bitter kola (Garcinia kola). These products are imported mainly by air, and are largely intended for nationals of Central African countries living in Paris, Brussels, several other French and Belgian cities, and recently in England, Germany and Switzerland. Others, often in small quantities, go to African restaurants and the market of 'bio' products. Initiated by the first students and trainees from Central Africa in France and Belgium, this trade was originally carried out exclusively by European grocers specialising in general food products. European, North African, Central African and Asian grocers now carry it out. They all run shops specialising in the sale of products to African and West Indian customers. They charge prices sometimes eightfold the prices prevailing in Central African markets, which paradoxically does not slow down the demand for ethnical and biological products, and health or dietetic foods among young French, Belgian and European consumers. This paper describes the organisation and operation of the non-timber forest products market (selling points, actors, distribution networks, prices, bottlenecks, etc.) and its potential for development. It also formulates recommendations to release constraints to its dynamics, and suggests access paths for use by actors in Central Africa.

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