Forest Connect is an international alliance - co-managed by Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) - dedicated to reduce poverty by linking Small and Medium Forest Enterprises (SMFEs) with national forest programs, emerging markets and service providers. It currently has active programs in 11 countries: Burkina Faso, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, India, Laos, Mali, Mozambique and Nepal. The overall goal of the Forest Connect is “to substantially reduce poverty for forest-dependent people in key partner countries by increasing the number of successful and sustainable small forest enterprise associations”.
ANSAB serves as a National hub in Nepal for Forest Connect since August 2007. ANSAB has completed the three years of the first phase of Forest Connect Nepal (FCN) program and is currently implementing the first year of the second phase of the program.
Since its establishment in 1992, ANSAB has been working in community based enterprise (CBE) development and promoting their value chain linkages. It has developed and strengthened a total of 1,166 economic entities involved in the collection, value addition and trading of forest products and high value agriculture crops, while bringing a total of 100,672 hectares of forest and meadow areas under improved community management with 393 Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs). ANSAB’s involvement to the Forest Connect program came along with its long experiences on CBE sector and its relationship with the FAO developed during the Marketing Information System (MIS) study in Lao PDR in 2005. The goal of the Forest Connect project is “to substantially reduce poverty for forest dependent people in key partner countries by increasing the number of successful and sustainable small forest enterprise associations” also fits with the principle and expertise of ANSAB’s Pro Poor Economic Development program. Based on the ANSAB’s expertise and long experience on CBE sector, FCN’s efforts are directed to strengthen small and medium forest enterprises (SMFEs), increase the visibility of SMFEs in Nepal, and promote the level of organization and connectedness of SMFEs among each other and with markets, service providers and policy processes. ANSAB as a Forest Connect hub in Nepal aims to support and strengthen SMFEs and their connectedness to ensure their sustainability over the long run.
ANSAB has been implementing the Forest Connect Program in Nepal with different working partners as government, community based organizations, local enterprises, CFUGs, research institutions and other organizations. ANSAB as a forest connect hub in Nepal identifies the issues and challenges of the SMFEs and discusses in the Nepal NTFP Network (NNN) meetings. NNN is coordinated by ANSAB and consists of 50 organizational and 250 individual members representing government, community, business, donors, Federation of community forestry users, forest enterprises, NGOs and development agencies from Nepal, China, India, Uganda, UK and USA. ANSAB also coordinates the NNN meetings with participation of NNN’s active members including the Government of Nepal, Federation of community forestry users Nepal (FECOFUN), community forest enterprises and Nepalese business organizations. The meeting discusses on the issues and identifies the means of effective collaboration and coordination among the supporting organizations. Final decisions are verified by the NNN meetings.