The NTFP-EP is a collaborative network of over 60 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) working with forest-based communities to strengthen their capacity in the sustainable management of natural resources in the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
NTFP-EP aims to strengthen the capacity of forest-based communities and their support organizations. Employing a participatory strategy, NTFP-EP empowers its partners through information and knowledge exchange of appropriate resource management techniques and experiences, technical support and training, inputs in strategy discussions, documentation of best practices and success stories, mobilization of resources and contacts, advocacy support for local initiatives, and lobby for enabling policies.
Specifically NTFP-EP works towards:
- Forest conservation through forest management and sustainable harvesting of NTFPs to emphasize the forests’ intrinsic relationship with the culture and livelihood of indigenous peoples;
- Land rights and governance and the recognition and enforcement of user rights through legal measures and policy advocacy, constituency building, ensuring enabling environments in which various sectors are in support of indigenous land rights and their NTFP enterprises;
- Food and health security through the enhancement of subsistence uses of NTFPs, and promotion of indigenous peoples’ culture and traditional ecological knowledge; and
- Income generation from value addition and marketing of NTFPs, using the low volume, high value approach.
About a hundred million people living in and around forests in South and Southeast Asia depend on non-timber forest products (NTFPs) for their subsistence and cash income. NTFPs and NTFP-derived products such as furniture, honey, varnish, beeswax candles, herbal medicine and many others are necessities in urban communities and big cities, too. However, communities often have no access to strategic information, practical technology, and financial support to make viable enterprises.
A handful of organizations saw this link between sustainable use of forest resources and economic development for indigenous peoples (IPs) and forest communities. The Non-Timber Forest Products-Exchange Programme for South and Southeast Asia (NTFP-EP) sprung from a need for these organizations working with forest communities to come together to push for and promote the NTFP concept for forest conservation and livelihood enhancement.
Recognizing the potential benefits of sharing experiences and pooling expertise, in 1998 we started an informal group of practitioners working in local initiatives in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Vietnam and the Philippines. As our partnerships strengthened and initiatives intensified, the group decided to register as a non-profit organisation based in Manila, Philippines in September 2003.
Today, NTFP-EP has fully established country offices in Manila, Jakarta, and, Phnom Penh, and partners in Malaysia, Vietnam and India.