Factors Affecting Household Participation In Non-Timber Forest Products Market In Eastern Uganda
It is recognized that non-timber forest products can contribute to poverty alleviation in areas with high poverty rate like Eastern Uganda. These products are particularly vital for the rural poor who collect them for diverse needs and functions. Therefore the Ugandan Government has recently focused on developing markets for non-timber forest products (NTFPs). This is also due to the surging demand for NTFPs, driven by increased consumer’s awareness of their medicinal, nutritional and economic value. In Uganda the markets of NTFPs are not yet as developed as that of staple food. Furthermore, there is little information about factors that influence household decision to collect or produce NTFPs as well as their decision to sell them in Uganda. The identification of these factors will help the Uganda Government in designing effective programs to boost households’ income in the short term and enable the sustainable use of forest resources in a way that they will be available for use by the future generation. Using data from a sample of 633 households selected through multistage sampling procedure, this study assesses factors affecting households’ decision to collect or produce NTFPs using a Probit model and identifies factors affecting households’ choice of a source of NTFPs using a Probit model. The study also analyses the determinants of households’ decision to sell NTFPs by use of a Probit model. The study found that the household characteristics (age, household size and wealth status) and other characteristics (agro-ecological zones and access to agricultural and market information) significantly affect household decision to participate in NTFPs or not as collector or producer. Household and farm characteristics (farm size, age, presence of trees on farm and occupation of the head of household) and other characteristics (agro-ecological zones and access to agricultural and market information) had a significant effect on household decision to collect NTFPs from the forest instead of producing them on farm. In addition, household and farm characteristics (education of the head of household, gender, presence of trees on farm and wealth status) and agro-ecological zones significantly affect household decision to sell NTFPs. Therefore the study recommends as follows: stakeholders should promote sound extension services on appropriate v agroforestry practices in the lowland communities. This is considering the land poor households who rarely plant trees on their farm. Poor households should be encouraged to invest more in NTFPs extraction and selling in order to take advantage of the growing market for products with high premium price. There is also a need for concerted effort among policy makers, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders towards improving women participation in harvesting and marketing of NTFPs in the study area.
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