Options for sustainable community forestry business incubation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Countries in the Congo Basin are at a crossroads in managing their lands and forests. Governments want to transform their economies by exploiting natural resources (including forests) and developing agribusiness and energy infrastructure at scale. But there is little evidence that this will deliver poverty reduction or protect forests. A more promising option for equitable and sustainable growth lies in the huge number of smallholder producers working on farms and in forests. Finding better ways to support them is imperative.
This report assesses options for better business incubation for sustainable community forest businesses in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – from improving access to forest resources, finance and markets to reducing bureaucracy and enhancing business skills and reputation. The organisation of community groups and artisanal logging groups into formally registered forest and farm producer organisations (FFPOs) can help to improve scale efficiencies and develop partnerships that will increase market reach, improve prices and reduce the transaction costs of dealing with buyers, government authorities and finance providers. The report concludes with recommendations and calls for a national dialogue on how best to provide forest-business incubation in the future.