Chapter 5: Opportunities for action

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5.1 Setting the policy framework: diversifying forestry activities to meet people's needs
5.2 Institutions: support for food security objectives
5.3 Research priorities
5.4 Approaches
5.5 Important lines of action
5.6 Concluding remarks

There are no simple prescriptions to follow on how to integrate food security objectives into forestry activities. Experience is still limited and there are few examples of forestry initiatives - successful or otherwise - that have been designed with food security as a specific target. Nonetheless, there are many opportunities for action, some of which are sketched out briefly in this chapter. They provide a starting point for further discussions on how forestry can better contribute to food security, and a basis on which practical actions can be devised. Support at the policy level will be essential.



5.1 Setting the policy framework: diversifying forestry activities to meet people's needs

5.1.1 Defining policy objectives
5.1.2 Land-use policies: promoting sustainable uses
5.1.3 Holistic approach

For forestry to play a role in enhancing food security a broader and more flexible policy framework is needed to provide the necessary support for specific programmes and initiatives.

5.1.1 Defining policy objectives

National forest policies are usually expressed as general statements of intent which encompass a wide range of objectives, including production, environmental and developmental goals. In the past, forest policies have tended to be directed primarily towards maximising revenues and foreign exchange earnings from the forest, and ensuring supplies of raw materials to large forest-based industries. As a result, the needs of local people have often been relegated to second place.

Focusing on food security requires a fundamental shift in mandate in who forests are managed for: changing from timber merchants and government treasuries to emphasis on local people. In so doing, a much broader and more flexible set of policy objectives are needed allowing for a diversity of programme options. This will involve incorporating the food and income needs of local people as a much more prominent element in overall forest policy, and expanding forest planning and management practices to include greater involvement of local people.

In addition, a review of existing forest policies is needed in light of food security concerns. Of particular importance are:

* changing policy measures which prevent the desired broadening of forest uses (for example, changing legislation that discriminates against users of non-timber forest products or access to wood for small-scale enterprises);

* replacing legal and other constraints that discourage tree growing outside forests with incentives and other measures that promote more effective use of trees within farming systems;

* developing and enforcing regulations to minimise the negative impact of large wood-using industries on the local environment and local people;

* making modifications in forest laws to recognise the needs of landless and poor families, and to extend their involvement in food and income generating activities based on the forest.

5.1.2 Land-use policies: promoting sustainable uses

Land-use planning and policies and land tenure issues are all of central importance to food security problems. As was discussed in Chapter 2, many environmental problems caused by forestry activities such as timber harvesting on unstable slopes (e.g. resulting in land slides, river and irrigation channel siltation) can have disastrous effects on food production and supply. Issues of control and management of forest areas, as well as people's rights to forest products on their own farms all have important implications for the ways in which forest and tree resources can be used to help counter food security problems.

Land-Use Policies

In some cases land-use policies of different divisions within a government promote conflicting goals. In addition, government policies may encourage, either actively or tacitly, practices that are environmentally unsound and are, in development terms, disastrous for the poor.

The clearance of fragile tropical forests areas to open up grazing lands for cattle ranching or unsustainable grain production is one of the most obvious examples. All too often this has led to rapid loss of soil fertility, followed by erosion and permanent land damage. Although it may boost food production in the short term, its long-term effects are to degrade the resource base and to destroy any potential for sustainable production.

Land reform

On the question of conversion of forest land to agriculture, most agrarian reform programmes and forest settlement schemes have considered forests as a land bank for agricultural expansion. In many cases, there has been inadequate consideration of the suitability of this land for sustainable food production. As a result, there are large areas which have been degraded to the point of minimal productivity, despite huge investments in land clearing, infrastructures, subsidies and incentives.

A more careful and creative approach is needed, both in selecting land for conversion to agriculture, and in encouraging more sustainable use of the land perhaps through combinations of trees and crops. In some cases there are alternatives to land clearance that may be more effective in providing settlers with a sustainable livelihood. These involve retaining forest cover and developing the land for forestry uses, whilst promoting employment and income earning opportunities. Increasing the local opportunities for forest exploitation could provide people with a sustainable living without running the risk of environmental degradation.

It is important that land-use planning is not treated as merely a scientific exercise, divorced from the realities of local circumstances. It is only by incorporating local needs, perspectives and know-how that realistic plans can be developed - plans that take into account the constraints people face and the often difficult conflicts of interest involved.

Control of Forest Land

When it comes to the use and control of forest land, the custodial approach is still the dominant forest policy. Retaining custody of forest lands, however, should not be a goal in itself. While there may be strong arguments for maintaining control of forest land in some situations there is a need for alternative management approaches. In many instances the food security needs of local people can be better served with flexible and more closely monitored forest management which responds to local needs and circumstances. These may involve the partial or complete transfer of forest land to local ownership, and the devolution, to varying degrees, of responsibility for control and use of forest resources to local communities.

In Thailand a 'forest village' system has been designed to settle shifting cultivators in forest areas. Villagers are employed by the forest department to establish plantations, and are allowed to plant crops between the young trees. Each family is-also allocated 2.4 hectares of farmland for their own uses. No land title is issued, but user permits are given which can be inherited but cannot be sold. In addition, the forest department assists in providing housing, vocational training, schools, and other infrastructural support.

Developing alternative management and custody schemes requires detailed knowledge of local circumstances, and it depends both on winning the trust of local people, and on providing them with the support they need to ensure sustainable management of the forest resource. In the long term, the benefits of developing local capacities to tackle problems through joint action may be even more important than the short-term gains from the tree products or services provided.

5.1.3 Holistic approach

As was noted at the outset food security is a complex issue as are the rural environments in which foresters operate. Thus a more holistic approach at all levels is needed including planning, research, programme development and forest management. An approach which will draw on and integrate the experiences of many people and institutions. As was noted above, co-ordination between forest policies and those in other sectors of the economy is important for countering food security problems. There is an urgent need to shift away from the current, narrow sectoral approach of policy making, to one in which policies in forestry, agriculture, livestock, industry and development are integrated so that they complement rather than compete with each other. In forestry programmes geared to improving the welfare of forest dwellers, for example, substantial inputs of resources from other non-forestry sectors such as education, health, and infrastructures, will be needed. Integrated programmes have far greater potential for tackling food security problems than forestry initiatives on their own.

The linkages between forestry and agriculture deserves special attention. As was shown in Chapters 3 and 4 trees grown in agricultural lands contribute to household food security in many ways. This contribution has been largely ignored, both by foresters and agriculturalists. There is a clear need to strengthen co-operation between foresters and agriculturalists in planning extension and programme implementation, so as to create more effective partnerships for working with farmers and the problems they face.


5.2 Institutions: support for food security objectives

Changes in policies alone will not change forestry activities to include food security objectives. Foresters and their institutions will.

Present institutional structures are in many cases poorly matched to the challenges set by forestry and food security problems. What is required is much greater co-operation between the agriculture, forestry, livestock and other departments involved in development and natural resource management. In addition, within Forestry institutions themselves a broader base of professionals are needed. Notably, more staff with training in social sciences. New types of training will be required for forestry professionals and extension workers to provide them with the skills needed to work more closely with villagers.

There is no doubt that important strides have been made in recent years in a number of countries in broadening the role of forestry to meeting people's needs. For those involved, one of the problems is that career and reward systems do not always favourably regard such activities. There is a high risk of failure and error when doing innovative projects. These problems highlight the fact that adequate institutional support is required for new programmes, especially for those geared to working at a community level.

Foresters, especially those at the lower levels, who are in contact with local people, will need to develop new roles: becoming brokers between central government and local people; interpreters of local needs and aspirations; facilitators, helping local people to organise and play an active part in forest management; and advocates for the poor and disadvantaged. Such roles represent radical departures for most forestry services, but they are necessary if forestry is to address food security problems. They also represent a radical departure from most extension service approaches which seek to present predesigned solutions. Two-way development communications are needed with local input into the extension programme design.

A variety of new organizational approaches are also open to forest departments. One possibility is to create a formal separation of the police and extension functions of forest departments, as has happened recently in Senegal. In Nepal, some villages have been encouraged to set up ''village forest police" to assist in the protection of local forests. The elm in both cases has been to create a partnership, rather than an adversarial relationship between the forest service and the people (Lad and Khan, 1986).

The need to include more women in research, planning and extension agencies is also crucial. If efforts to increase food security are to be successful, women and women's concerns must be systematically incorporated into institutions and programmes, Employing more female staff, at all levels, is one of the best ways this can be achieved.

Finally, Forestry Departments can use the expertise of other institutions - especially those which are already promoting community level development. Prominent among them are non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs can be particularly useful, innovative and flexible; and they are often well suited to working at the community level.



5.3 Research priorities

Throughout this report the tentative nature of our understanding of the links between forestry and food security have been stressed: from the effects of deforestation on rainfall levels to the importance of forest foods during emergency droughts. There is little doubt that there is a great need for research on all aspects of forestry and food security.

Of greatest importance is research which addresses the key issue of how foresters can integrate food security objectives into their activities. In general, forestry initiatives will center around four main priority areas: maintaining and developing forest products crucial for local food security (e.g. supply of forest foods); minimizing the negative impact of forestry activities on food security (e.g. harvesting practices and water quality degradation); improving food production (e.g. improved agroforestry and conservation techniques); and increasing the returns of forests for local people (e.g. development of small-scale processing enterprises). Also imperative is a better understanding of how people use and manage their surrounding forests, especially in terms of their food security needs. Building on this knowledge base will provide one of the greatest research opportunities.

There is a wealth of knowledge in many rural communities about forest species, their ecology, their management and their uses. In some areas, however, it is disappearing as the natural resource base changes, societies change and traditional practices die out. In these instances, research is needed urgently as this information will provide invaluable clues about the ecology of different species, about how they can be managed for sustainable production, and about their uses.

At the technical level, there is a whole range of possibilities for improved management of forests and better use of trees on the farm. Some of the most important research priorities can be summarised as follows:

* research to develop techniques for reclaiming denuded and degraded areas - for example, land affected by salinisation or desertification - using trees and agroforestry methods, with the aim of returning these areas to productive uses;

* studies to understand the effect of forests and trees on moisture availability for agriculture - this will involve such issues as the effect of forests on distribution of rainfall, groundwater recharge, and flooding. studies are needed both at the level of individual watersheds, and for major river and mountain systems such as the Himalayas, the Nile system, and the Amazon basin;

* investigations to elucidate the mechanisms of plant-to-plant and plant-to-animal interactions in mixed land-use systems, and to evaluate the complementary and competitive interactions among different components of these systems, and to suggest ways of optimising sustainable production;

* research to evolve low-cost alternatives to minimise the requirement for external inputs of fertiliser and pesticides, and maximise the benefits from nitrogen fixation, nutrient cycling and organic matter addition in tree and crop mixtures;

* studies to increase sustainable production from forests and agroforestry systems through species selection, improvement of the genetic stock, and new breeding and propagation techniques;

* research into the sustainable management of trees and forests for multi-purpose uses;

* research aimed at the identification, management and enhanced use of under-exploited species of plants and animals in forest habitats - this should be co-ordinated with efforts to conserve genetic resources using both in-situ and ex-situ approaches.

As with other aspects of the development of programmes aimed at food security objectives, researchers need to broaden their methods - undertaking interdisciplinary studies and devising methodologies which are urgently required if multi-component forest and farm systems are to be developed. These need to incorporate both biological and socio-economic aspects of production systems.

An underlying priority, however, is to ensure that research activities, whether carried out by universities or other institutions, are firmly grounded in the realities of local circumstances and local problems. Too often, research is carried out for its own sake, and becomes divorced from the development process it is supposed to be serving. An increased emphasis on-farm research is one way to guard against this tendency, and will in many cases be essential if new techniques are to be successfully transferred from the laboratory or research institute to the farm.

Finally, there is great need and scope for research on the methods and institutional arrangements required for instituting forestry programmes with food security objectives. What are the different types of flexible management practices, for example, with which forestry departments can experiment? What types of strategies and approaches will effectively address local peoples needs? It is imperative that researchers do not focus only on the products and services of forests and trees, but also address the social and economic conditions needed so that people can benefit from them.


5.4 Approaches

5.4.1. Identifying the problems
5.4.2 Identifying target groups
5.4.3 Importance of women

There are many ways of diversifying forestry activities so as to address at least some food security problems. The following discussion briefly sketches some possibilities for action; it should not, however, be seen as directive - it is intended to illustrate how many forestry activities could be adapted and developed to help counter local food security problems.

Of utmost importance in terms of developing programmes is identifying the nutrition problems in a particular area, and the people the programme is intended to benefit.

5.4.1. Identifying the problems

If food security considerations are to guide the design of forestry projects and programmes, an understanding of the nutrition problems and shortfalls in local diets is needed. For example, in some areas specific nutrients are lacking from the diet (e.g. niacin in areas with maize-based diets) - or simply there is not enough food during one season. In the first instance, introduction of farm trees with niacin rich foods could prove beneficial. In the second instance, the cause of the food problem will determine the possible solutions. If the problem is shortage of food supply, one may consider introducing food bearing farm trees or facilitating access to forests during the hunger season. If the problem is lack of income to buy food, development of forest-based processing enterprises might be useful. It should be noted here that it is equally important for a forestry project or programme to decide which problems they cannot address as to decide which ones they can.

In identifying dietary problems some basic information will be needed (often available from country health or nutrition departments): an idea of the important components of the diet and any widespread nutritional deficiencies (e.g. vitamin A deficiency), identifying who within a community is particularly susceptible to food problems, an idea of the seasonal variations in the diet, and the recourses people take in times of emergency, information on the availability of food in markets, and the extent to which people depend on purchased foods. In addition, information on the general "socio-economic climate", e.g. the income earning opportunities of the area will be required.

5.4.2 Identifying target groups

As has been stressed throughout this section, gearing forestry programmes to food security objectives means gearing activities to the needs (or at least the concerns) of local people. "Local people" are of course not a homogeneous group waiting to be identified. There are many divisions within communities, which may well be at the root of some of the communities food security problems. These factors, however, do not detract from the fact that programmes and projects geared to local food security problems must be planned and managed at the local level.

A great many factors will determine who a programme is being designed for (and by); and these will depend entirely on the particular local conditions. There are nonetheless a few issues to consider at the more general level, notably:

* nutritionally vulnerable groups within a community and the groups or families most dependent on forest or tree resources for their well-being;

* the central role of women in food production and food security.

Finding out which groups are particularly vulnerable to food security problems is essential if efforts are to be concentrated on those most in need. This will vary from region to region. Some of the groups which are often most at risk include:

* the landless poor - who depend on wage labour for income and who often rely heavily on dwindling common property resources for firewood, fodder and other basic needs;

* forest dwellers and shifting cultivators - who often suffer due to their lack of secure land tenure and the increasing outside pressures on forest resources and forest land;

* small farmers who lack the land and resources needed to guarantee adequate subsistence production or income generation - many of whom are subject to the combined threats of environmental degradation, declining fertility and continued fragmentation of landholdings;

* pastoralists and herders - especially those in fragile environments that are susceptible to droughts, and in areas where rangelands have been reduced through encroachment by cultivators, exclusion by government, and other factors;

* young children have particular dietary needs which cannot be met in especially poorer households.

Although the reasons behind their food security problems differ, these groups do have a number of features in common; frequently they lack an effective political voice, they are short of capital and other resources, and they are marginalised from the mainstream economy - and the health, education, economic and other benefits it provides.

What these groups do not lack, however, is ingenuity and the will to better their own lives and those of their families if they are given the chance. The challenge is to devise programmes and approaches that are relevant to their needs, and provide them with an opportunity to improve their own income and food security position.

5.4.3 Importance of women

Given the central role that women play in food production and food security, involving women, and their concerns will provide invaluable insight for programme planning and direction. The possibilities for successfully integrating women into the project planning process would be enhanced if women staff and extension agents are used.

The demands on women's time may be of central importance to designing programmes from which women can benefit. If women are to be involved, for example, in a tree growing project, the jobs of weeding, watering and other tasks will have to be fitted into an already busy work schedule. Projects will fail if the demands they place on women's time cannot be accommodated, and if the benefits are not seen as being worth the extra work required.

Importance of women


5.5 Important lines of action

5.5.1 Diversifying forest management to incorporate locally valued products
5.5.2 Encouraging tree growing on farms
5.5.3 Supporting small-scale forest-based enterprises
5.5.4 Providing market support

5.5.1 Diversifying forest management to incorporate locally valued products

From the point of view of the food security of those living in and around forests, there are a number of important ways in which forest management can be improved: by focusing on non-timber forest products so as to provide a wider and more plentiful range of products; by incorporating products of local importance in plantation development, and by providing better and fairer access to the resources that already exist.

The expression 'minor forest products' sums up well the perception of non-timber forest products within conventional forestry circles. They tend to be treated as peripheral; an added bonus that may be of some interest to local people, but not something that is a major concern for the forestry authorities.

Forest management needs to focus on improving existing forest resources - especially those of local importance . New skills will be needed which focus on management for multiple products and forest uses. This does not mean that traditional production goals have to be abandoned. What is needed are techniques that combine these goals with the supply of other products of use to local people - products such as bushmeat, rattan, bamboo, firewood, traditional medicines, fruits, honey and other forest foods.

In some cases this may involve taking measures to conserve useful species or particular areas of natural forest, instead of clear felling. Alternatively, it may require deliberate efforts to protect or introduce certain desirable species. Either way, research will often be needed as a preliminary step. The traditional focus on high-value timber species has meant that experience in how to manage and harvest the many other plants growing in the forest is often limited. Knowledge on sustainable use of forest wildlife is also poor, and needs to be developed if their potential as a food source is to be sustained. A first step will be to build from the local knowledge of the forest ecosystem and management practices. This will provide foresters with vital information, and will pave the way for more cooperative management - including local people.

Forest and tree crop plantations are generally believed to destroy non-timber forest product supplies, most notably wild animal habitat. While this is true of products which are cleared to make way for the plantation, there is scope for incorporating locally valued products into plantation management. Simple management techniques such as leaving patches of forest vegetation may help sustain wild animal populations. "Intercropping" plantations with sought after products could also be undertaken; or creating hedgerows of mixed vegetation to encourage desired animal species. In some cases management for non-timber forest products could provide a steady (as opposed to lump-sum) source of revenue to offset the cost of management.

Improved production is one side of the coin; the other is better access. If forest products are to benefit local people they have to be available, and there have to be management mechanisms in place that ensure that they can be exploited in a sustainable fashion.

Again, new approaches will often be needed, and these will have to be worked out on the basis of local conditions. In some situations the most effective approach may be for the forest department to retain close control over access to resources, using permits, for example, or by managing the harvesting of non-timber products and distributing them direct to local users.

Elsewhere, however, other more innovative approaches might be more appropriate, and more sustainable in the long-term. Certain areas of forest might be set aside specifically for local users under a variety of stewardship agreements, either with individuals or communities. Special arrangements could be made to allow women access to forest resources, or give concessions to disadvantaged groups. In this way, it may be possible for benefits to be targeted to those in greatest need.

In the case of forest dwellers who have been living in forest areas for many years, securing their rights of ownership and access to forest resources may be one of the most effective ways of encouraging better management. Often they have extensive knowledge of the local ecology but have been prevented from using it by their insecure tenure or because of interference from outside. Providing these groups a direct stake in the continued management of the forest, within the framework of clear ownership and access regulations, could bring major benefits. Instead of being part of the problem, as forest dwellers have often been regarded, they could become part of the solution.

Diversifying forest management to incorporate locally valued products

Effective alternative forest management schemes cannot be expected to emerge overnight. Inevitably, there will be failures as well as successes. With imagination and commitment, however, they do offer genuine opportunities for giving local people responsibility for the protection and management of forest resources. In the long-run this may prove much more realistic than the conventional policing approach to forest management.

5.5.2 Encouraging tree growing on farms

One of the most promising approaches to increasing the food security of families with land is to encourage tree growing on farm and fallow lands. As has been discussed this can contribute to food security in a number of ways; by providing food and animal fodder directly, by improving the conditions for crop growing and livestock rearing, and by supplying products that can be sold for cash.

As a broad approach to sustainable agriculture, agroforestry systems have undoubted potential, especially for poor farmers who cannot afford to use fertilisers and other external inputs. The traditional systems that already exist in many parts of the world can be enhanced and diffused. There is also enormous scope for developing new and improved forms of agroforestry, using new species combinations, better genetic stock, and a range of new techniques. To put this potential in context, however, a number of points need to be recognised

* the needs and perspectives of local farmers must provide the guiding influence in designing and optimising agroforestry systems. Their relative need for fodder, food, wood products, income, and other benefits will dictate to a large extent the most appropriate system;

* on-farm research involving farmers themselves is critical in taking new agroforestry techniques out of the research stations and into widespread use;

* many of the detailed interactions between trees and other components in agroforestry systems are still only partly understood, and most of the potential species combinations and management approaches have yet to be properly assessed;

* trees can compete with, as well as enhance, the production of crops. The tree component within agroforestry systems therefore has to be carefully designed;

* the technical options available are highly dependent on the agro-climatic conditions. Techniques that work well in humid regions can rarely be transferred to arid and semiarid areas without considerable modification and adjustment;

* new integrated management approaches need to be matched to local market opportunities, as well as to agro-climatic conditions;

* agroforestry is not the solution everywhere. There are many cases where existing farming and livestock systems are performing perfectly well, and there will be little to be gained by introducing more trees.

Thus, while agroforestry approaches offer exciting opportunities for improving rural livelihoods and enhancing food security, they have to be firmly grounded in local realities and be tested under local conditions.

5.5.3 Supporting small-scale forest-based enterprises

Huge numbers of people already depend on gathering and processing tree and forest products as a source of income. These include products grown on the farm and those obtained from the forest. By supporting these activities, and helping to make them more profitable and sustainable, the livelihoods of those concerned can be improved and their food security enhanced. This is of particular relevance for the landless and other disadvantaged groups, as these are the people who generally depend on these activities the most. Women specifically stand to benefit.

A number of possible options can be identified:

* guaranteeing supplies of input materials from government forests, at controlled or reduced prices, and making sure small-scale enterprises are not subjected to unfair competition from larger industries;

* increasing the 'value added' from tree products by supporting more extensive processing by local people;

* strengthening the managerial and business capacity of small-scale enterprises by encouraging producer cooperatives, associations, and other joint groups;

* developing and promoting new technologies that improve the returns, improving efficiency or product quality;

* providing tax and other incentives to encourage the establishment of small-scale enterprises;

* improving the availability of credit to small-scale enterprises to allow them to expand their capacity, create more employment and increase turnover and profits.

Of course, the development potential of different small-scale enterprises will depend on a number of local conditions, notably the raw material supply, the market potential, market access and supply of labour. More information will be needed to understand how to identify enterprises with long term viability from those which will shortly be overcome by larger operations or substitute products. Information will also be needed in order to better understand how such enterprises may be supported in a way that benefits accrue to the poor.


5.5.4 Providing market support

For those involved in the sale of tree-based products, either from the farm or the forest, the benefits they obtain are directly linked to their access to markets . In many cases, local collectors and processors receive very little for the products they sell. Instead, most of the benefits are captured by middlemen and urban traders operating further along the marketing chain.

There are a variety of measures that can be considered as a possible way of assisting in the marketing of forest products, with the aim of improving rural incomes:

* strengthening the bargaining power of producers by setting up marketing cooperatives, or producers' associations;

* providing farmers with better market information to raise awareness of market opportunities and limitations, warn them of possible fluctuations in market prices, and assist them in diversifying what they produce so as to reduce risks;

* supporting the marketing of tree products by providing transportation and storage facilities, linking sellers with buyers at markets and fairs, and giving advice on advertising and marketing strategies;

* assisting women in the marketing of tree products by ensuring they have direct access to market outlets and receive personally the proceeds of the goods they sell;

* mounting promotional campaigns to encourage consumers to buy indigenous tree-based products instead of imported alternatives;

* reviewing price controls that set a ceiling on the price of tree products and discourage sustainable production.

Interfering with market forces is always a delicate business. The side-effects are often hard to predict and it is not unusual to end up having the exact opposite effect from that originally intended. Measures to support rural producers by setting minimum price levels, for example, may result in reduced consumer demand and a shift to alternative products thus negating the supposed benefits. Subsidies also have to be used with discretion; besides being expensive and difficult to administer, they may foster an unhealthy degree of dependency amongst intended beneficiaries and become very difficult to remove once they have been introduced.

To be effective, government interventions into market systems need to be carefully researched and properly targeted. Where there is a case for providing subsidies and other forms of direct support it is often best if these measures are introduced for a clear and limited time period, and are phased out once they have had their desired effect. Similarly, rather than government agencies continuing to supply market information and other services, it will often be more efficient if these responsibilities are passed over to producer groups themselves, which once established may be better able to provide the necessary ongoing services and support.

Providing market support


5.6 Concluding remarks

While forestry efforts alone cannot substantially alter social, economic and political factors at the root of many food supply inequalities, they can support and build from the contributions forests (and farm trees) make to household food security. In order to strengthen and develop these contributions, foresters need to focus on new goals and devise new approaches for their activities. This will entail modifying existing institutional approaches and arrangements, and the traditional focus of forestry training, research and extension work, as these are not well matched to the task of addressing food security objectives.

Food security issues are especially important at the policy level. Supportive policies must influence the direction of programmes and projects in order to optimise their impact on food security and rural development. These issues are complex relecting the ever-changing rural world, especially for the poor in terms of their access to physical, capital and labour resources which must be juggled in order to survive and develop.

The preceding chapters have shed light on some of the links between forests, forestry activities and people's well-being their year-round food supply. This focus on food security highlights the fact that forests (and thus forestry activities) cannot be isolated from their rural environments; they are intricately linked with the physical and socio-economic factors which sustain people living in, or near them. On a grander scale forests may also be linked to the "world'' environment affecting climate patterns and thus the lives of everyone. Although foresters may feel that food security concerns are far beyond the bounds of their profession, their activities directly affect the food security of households in their country or region.

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