Ethnobotany in the forest...
 People and forests are the wealth...
 Tropical rainforest plants: The...
 Getting the goods out of the...
 Diversify your diet
 Marketing strategies for tropical...
 Mayan secrets for modern farme...

Title: International ag-sieve
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086654/00001
 Material Information
Title: International ag-sieve
Alternate Title: Information sheet
Abbreviated Title: Int. ag-sieve
Physical Description: 7 v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Rodale Institute
Publisher: Rodale International
Place of Publication: Emmaus PA
Publication Date: 1988-1995
Frequency: bimonthly
Subject: Sustainable agriculture -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 1, no. 1 (May-June 1988)-v. 7 (1).
General Note: Title from caption.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086654
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 20915912
lccn - sn 90002966
issn - 1048-2962

Table of Contents
    Ethnobotany in the forest of Belize
        Page 1
    People and forests are the wealth of nations
        Page 2
    Tropical rainforest plants: The bottom line
        Page 3
    Getting the goods out of the woods
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Diversify your diet
        Page 6
    Marketing strategies for tropical forest products
        Page 7
    Mayan secrets for modern farmers
        Page 8
Full Text

7 .*1

"a sifting of news about regenerative agriculture"

Ethnobotany in the Forest of Belize

While the world scrambles in the race
against time to grapple with the enigmatic HIV
virus, an aging traditional healer in Belize is
guiding western scientists through the forest,
sharing his knowledge of plants with medicinal
value, and proving to be a contributor in the
search for a cure. Traditional healer Don Eligio
Panti has shown that he and his colleagues
possess the knowledge that could expedite the
search for plant compounds with anti-AIDS and
anticancer activity.
In preliminary, small-scale trials,
ethnobiologists from the Institute of Economic
Botany of the New York Botanical Garden, and
the Ix Chel Tropical Research Center, Ltd,
collaborating with Don Eligio Panti, and the
National Cancer Institute (NCI), experienced a
25% success rate in identifying a sample of plant
collections with marked biological activity. This
compares to a 6% success rate from plant
samples randomly collected without the
assistance of the traditional herbalist. These
small-scale trials are included in The Belize
Ethnobotany Project, a collaborative effort to
conduct a country-wide survey of plants used by
traditional healers and others who have
indigenous knowledge of native Belizean flora.
In 1986 the NCI contracted the New York
Botanical Garden to collect 1,500 plant samples
annually from the neotropics for its anticancer
and anti-AIDS screening program. The Belize
Ethnobotany Project has been a part of this
endeavor. Dr. Rosita Arvigo and Dr. Gregory
Shropshire are the primary collaborators in the
Belize effort.
Researchers sought to identify the most
effective collection method to generate the
highest proportion of leads in the in-vitro
screening process. Three collection strategies
often used are the random method, the target
method and the ethnobotanical approach.
The random method entails complete
collection of plant samples found in a forest

Cli ea with mniltr L niphisis i'.'n I.- Irtiltirg or
rlir--xctring sr-ccie;. ["he stioind stratc-l', the
tirlvt irieth'jd. I cullk t plants Irnlii timilIre.
knciwn t. ht high in hi I gicaIllv active com-,
POLind,. 4uch as alliuids. glyc' r. ,tt: r. id
.r llvn-os
The thn)hujtjnical aI~pr nich Lues knovl.
edp v h.% tia.diti.-inai hcalvis ah 'tit tht:
niedicinjI uws iol pljnt anld thcir %riviriormrwnr
Thi strjtckyv is chlkngi r -i in that it YcLIrq11r
teejrchufrs t-i idcntifrv thr' St peo ple %.,hi, posscs.;
kii wltdgtC i-1 nidicinil plants. and III MfCL11i
thtLr irur ,ncrati..n. Blith tht dthn-ibhftanical ndfl
continued on page 2

V. -.
P r;;''' : ; ` ;``.:



.k.'... ,.

Dr. Balick, Director of the
Institute of Economic Botany
at New York Botanical
Garden, discusses the use of
medicinal plants with Kekchi
Maya healers.


16W. 1.

~. rl.3. L~E~P~ I~ '~ T-7 VMA rrr Ir'gIA.l~lL ~~i i*~:I: ~ll~
ik H~*~"~r"~~dQ."*;~"~~*~~ ui.1~4iH

People and Forests are the Wealth of Nations



is published by
The International Ag-Sleve is
dedicated to the development of
productive profitable and
ecologically sound agricultural
systems by providing development
wawderswith quality Inlormatlon.
about current research in
regenerative agriculture.
it is not our intention to provide
site specific "recipes," but to plant
ideas that promote the adaptation
of regenerative technologies
globally. This newsletter is yours,
we encourage you to use it to
share your own experiences.
Annual subscription forsix.issues:
US $16 ($30 for 2 years). Write to:
International Ag-Sieve
Rodale Institute, 611 Siegfriedale
Road, Kutztown, PA 19530 USA
Fotreaders interested in regenera-
Live agriculture in West Africa,
Entre Nous Is published in French
by .Rodale International,
B.P. A237, Thies, Sen6gal.
Research Editor Katie Carruth
Production Manager -Bob Wagner
Publisher lonathan Landeck
ISSN : 1048-2962

"The ethnobotanical
approach uses
knowledge possessed
by traditional healers
about the medicinal
uses of plants and their
environment. "

F or l0.i0i. i years. agriculture and society
have developed by the grace of hard work and
natural resources. The phenomenal ability 'if
people th sweat and it vegetation to convert
sunlight, rain, and soil resources to biomass have
fueled our survival. A. plants mature and
decompose, our global biological system is
replenished with organic matter, valued by
agriculturalists around the world as the key to soil
lertilitv and structure. Now we risk losing the
heart and soul o1 our green lifeline, tropical Iforest
According to the i.S. (Ofice of Technology
Assessment. we lose more than 11 million
hectares of tropical forest to land clearing every
year. That figure more or leso equals the land area
of Pennsylvania in the United States. or the
nations of Honduras. Benin. or Bulgaria. (Ov rall.
32 nations are smaller than the area of tropical
forests eliminated annually. Let's note as well that
demand lot fuelwuod in 511 years will be 31.-i,
greater than present consumption levels, while
demand lor paper, veneer, and sawn timber will
double. If every person on earth would plant and
ensure the survival iof o tworees per year between
now and then. for a total of 5111 billion trees, our
global sink for present and future carbon emis-
sions in the atmo,phere would be adequate .ust
plant trees Voila. a .simple solution to our forest
resource problem.
if only reality would accommodate that
formula. In truth, our global. forest-based
biological system is complex and precarious, as
are the living conditions for millions of people

continued from page 1
the random approach are used by the New York
Botanical Garden.
The hypothesis behind this research is that
indigenous knowledge about medicinal plants,
combined with documentation of this knowl-
edge by ethnobotanists, will yield a higher
number of biologically active compounds from
the screening program on a per-sample basis,
compared with collected plants randomly.

HIV Screening
The first priority of the NCI-sponsored
program is screening plant materials for their
effectiveness against the human immunodefi-
ciency virus (HIV), the causative agent of AIDS.
Plants are collected, dried in the field, and
packaged in 0.5 and 1.0 kg samples. These
samples are used for extraction and study at the
Frederick Cancer Research Facility, Natural
Products Repository in Maryland. Some samples

whose survival. livelihood. and wealth depend
upon the forest. Consensus is needed to develop
our forest-based society in an equitable, sustain-
able way. Yet. the spectrum of divergent opinion
expressed at the recent Rio environmental
conference reminds us that consensus on
ecological issues does not come easily. Most
leaders and practitioners support the mainte-
nance of both our temperate and tropical forest
base. But we disagree on how to create the best
of worlds, an Earth flush with trees, grasses, and
crops. where widespread hunger, poverty, and
chronic poor health are history lessons, not
reality. What to do?
Can we recognize both people and forests as
the wealth of nations? Must we sacrifice peoples'
well-being for trees, or vice versa? In response to
these questions, the contributing authors to this
Ag-Sieve illustrate how forest-dependent people
can meet some of their economic and health
needs, and still leave trees standing. The authors
suggest the development if "new crops." useful
natural products from the forest and range which
are highly valued in local, regional. or interna-
tonal markets. These products are generally not
new to forest resource users. Just the same. the
notion of sustainable use of forest resources as a
marketing problem is novel to many of us. Let's
explore the alternatives and continue our
economic, social, and biological research on new
crops. Meanwhile. investment in information
exchange and education will add value to the
wealth of human resources in forested lands.

WDtt^ YW4A4

are sent to the Ui.S. lor international distribu-
tion and study by botanists, while others are
kept in the host country.
Upon arrival in the U.S., the samples are
frozen, labeled and recorded in a database. The
samples are then sent to the Natural Products
Extraction Laboratory for processing into
organic and water extracts.
In the HIV screen, human T lymphoblastic
cells infected with AIDS are incubated for six
days with varying concentrations of the plant
extracts. Infected cells not treated with the
extracts die quickly after failing to proliferate.
Some infected cells treated with extracts
containing effective antiviral agents will
proliferate and survive at moderate extract
concentrations. In general, high concentrations
of extract will kill infected cells. The degree of
biological activity is measured in terms of the
level of protection provided by extracts at sub-
toxic concentrations, continued next page

FI~" s,4I

Tropical Rainforest Plants: the Bottom Line

Assessing the Economic Value
of Traditional Medicines from
Tropical Rainforests

In recent years, increasing attention
has been given to the value of tropical
rainforests as a source of non-timber forest
products (NTFPs). Although the commer-
cial value of many of these products has
been calculated, the economic value of
tropical pharmaceuticals has not been
adequately assessed.
Tropical forests are recognized as a
vast source of unknown chemicals with
potential medicinal uses. Traditional
medicinal plants are the basis for much of
the primary health care in tropical nations,
such as Belize, where up to 75% of primary
health care is provided by traditional
practitioners using these plants. This paper
quantifies the value of forests for their
pharmaceutical products using data from
Belize, Central America.
Currently, forest pharmaceuticals are
harvested in two general ways, destructive
and nondestructive. Frequent harvesting
often leaves medicinal plants damaged and
is thus unsustainable. Although these two
methods can degenerate a small site, it has
been hypothesized that the process could
be sustainable if applied to a larger area
with longer rotations. Other methods of
more continuous harvesting are being
examined in Belize and will eventually be
To quantify the value of managing

Random vs Ethnobotanical
In a comparative study of methodolo-
gies, two groups of plants are collected,
one using random collection, the other
using the ethnobotanical method. The
plants are sent to the NCI for screening
against HIV. The random collection
includes plants from Belize and Honduras.
The ethnobotanical collection comprises
plants of substantial therapeutic value as
selected and used by Don Eligio, the
master traditional healer.
Of the 20 plants tested from the
ethnobotanical collection, five have been
found to be active against HIV cells. Of the
18 randomly collected plants, only one has
been found to be biologically active against
HIV. Although these were small samples,
the study's results suggest a valid hypoth-

forests as a source of traditional medicines,
an inventory of plant materials was taken
from two sites. Both sites in the Cayo
District of Belize are secondary hardwood
forests representative of the region. Site
one is 0.28 ha, and site two is 0.25 ha. Site
one is about 30 years old, located in a
valley at 200m elevation. Site two is about
50 years old, located in the foothills of the
Mayan mountains at 350m elevation.
Marketable medicinal plant materials
were collected from both sites. Site 1
yielded 86.4kg dry weight of material, and
site two yielded 358.4kg. On a per-hectare
basis, the sites yielded 308.6 and 1,433.6kg
of dry weight of medicines respectively.

Net Revenue per Hectare
The current local market value of the
unprocessed plant material, which farmers
sell to local healers and pharmacists, is
US$2.80/kg. At this rate the gross revenue
of the two sites would be $864 and $4,014
respectively. The labor costs for harvesting
the materials must also be considered.
Collection time for site one was seven
person-days and 20 person-days at site two.
On a per- hectare basis this projects to 25
person-days on site one, and 80 person-
days on site two. With a local wage of $12/
day, total harvest costs of the two locations
were $300 and $960, respectively. Sub-
tracting these costs from gross revenue,
the net revenue per hectare for sites one
and two is $564 and $3,054 respectively.
Information was insufficient to
determine optimal rotation time for

esis regarding the relative efficiency of
ethnobotanical versus random collection.
For this study, the collection period is
scheduled to continue for five years. At the
end of that period much more information
will be available about medicinal and non-
medicinal uses, anticancer and anti-AIDS
effectiveness, and trends among plant
families. Broader use of this methodology
could streamline the discovery and
development of drugs from plant com-
pounds. Conservation of these species is
essential to the survival of existing health
care networks in tropical countries that
rely on the cornucopia of medicinal
treatments provided by the forest.
Balick, Michael J. Ethnobotany and the identification of
therapeutic agents from the rainforest. Bioactive
compounds from plants, Chadwick, D.J. and J. Marsh
(eds), 1990, J. Wiley and Sons, Chichester.

harvesting medicinal plant material.
Instead, the current age of the sites was
used as a rotation length. Given a 30-year
rotation in site one, the present value of
medicinal plants in that site was calculated
at $726/ha. With a 50-year rotation, site
two yields a present value of $3,327/ha.
These estimates compare favorably
with other land uses in the region, such as
estimates of the present value of:
* intensive agriculture in the Brazilian
rainforest, $339/ha.
* milpa (corn, beans and squash) in the
Guatemalan rainforest, $228/ha.
* anticipated yield of pine plantations
proposed for the tropics, $3,184/ha.

"Traditional medicinal
plants are the basis for
much of the primary health
care in tropical nations"

Other commercial plants exist at the
trial sites that could be harvested and
increase the total value of tropical
rainforests. These plants include allspice
(Pimenta dioica), copal (Protium copal),
chicle (Manilkara zapota), and others.
The data suggest that protection of at
least some areas of rainforest as extractive
reserves seems to be economically justi-
fied. According to this analysis, which is
based on current market data, a periodic
harvest strategy is a realistic and sustain-
able method of using the forest.
This analysis is based on current
market data. The resulting dollar value is
subject to change depending on local
market forces. The authors of this paper
predict that the value of tropical forests for
the harvest of NTFPs will increase relative
to other land uses over time as the forests
become increasingly scarce.
Systems for sustainable collection of
plant medicines and other NTFPs need to
be documented and developed for use on a
much broader scale. The present value of
medicinal plants combined with that of
other NTFPs provides a compelling and
quantifiable argument for the conservation
and careful management of tropical and
subtropical forests.
Condensed from:
Assessing the Economic Value of Traditional Medicines
from Tropical Rainforests, Michael J. Balick (Institute
of Economic Botany), Robert Mendelsohn (Yale Univ.
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies), Con-
servation Biology: 6(1) p.p. 128-130 1992.

~*.'rr ."U"**..**L'1-.*. .I~' .~~I I~~i~l*?l~~.~1J I" d~*.h~* :~ig U-l

Getting the Goods out of the Woods

By Barbara L. Dugelby
The establishment and management of
extractive forest reserves has been proposed as
an alternative to unsustainable forms of land
use such as clearing for agriculture or grazing
cattle. Extractive reserves have traditionally
centered around existing or historical patterns
of sustainable nontimber forest product use.
Most importantly, they "provide legal rights to
lands historically occupied by social groups that
utilize forest products in an ecologically
sustainable fashion" (Allegretti 1990).
In 1990, the Guatemalan government
established the Maya Biosphere Reserve, a 1.7
million hectare protected area located in the
northern Department of Peten. A large portion
of the Reserve will be dedicated to multiple-use
management, including the extraction of
export-oriented nontimber forest products.
Non-timber forest product use has a long
history in the Peten. Researchers claim that the
Mayan civilization manipulated and exploited
these tropical forest ecosystems extensively and
sustainably for centuries. Today, many
Petefieros still possess a profound knowledge of
and dependence on the forest for medicinal,
subsistence, construction, and commercial
Three important nontimber forest products
in Pet6n play a key role in the future of the
Maya Biosphere Reserve. The palm fronds of
Xate (pronounced shaote) (Chamaedorea sp.),
an understory jade palm used for greenery in
floral arrangements, chicle latex (Manilkara
zapota), used in chewing gum, and allspice

The chicleros
"bleed" chicle
trees using a
machete to make
cuts zigzagging
up the tree

(Pimenta dioica), provide part- and full-time
employment for more than 7,000 people and
together represent an annual income of US $4-7

Harvesting and Marketing
Harvesters are organized into teams and
taken to forest camps (campamentos) by
contractors (contratistas). Camps are scattered
throughout northern Peten and teams range
between eight to 30 harvesters with one cook,
usually a woman. Contractors provide harvest-
ers with basic food supplies, transportation to
and from camps, and transport of resources to
warehouses in the Flores area.
Xate harvesters, or Xateros, move through
the forest, removing palm leaves with a small
pocketknife and loading them into a sack on
their back. Each Xate plant produces 2 to 5
harvestable leaves over a 2 to 4 month period.
In camp the leaves are sorted into bundles
(manojos) of 45 marketable fronds which
contractors carry to the processing warehouses.
Waste is very high; at times up to 50% 60% of
harvested leaves are discarded as unmarketable.
The chicleros "bleed" chicle trees using a
machete to place cuts zigzagging up the tree to
the crotch, and occasionally the limbs. Tapping
wounds, placed at intervals of about 16 inches,
generally require two to five years to heal,
depending on the extent of injury to the cortex.
Observations indicate that about 5% of the trees
die after each tapping, largely from destruction
caused by wood-boring insects and wood-
decaying organisms. Several investigations
reveal lower densities of Manilkara trees in
regions of heavy exploitation.
Pimenteros prune the branches of allspice
trees bearing sufficient fruit, remove the
berries, and dry them over an open fire or under
the sun. According to experienced harvesters,
allspice trees resprout after pruning and can be
harvested again after six to seven years.

How to Harvest Successfully
The long-term sustainability of forest
resource harvesting is crucial to successful
development of extractive reserves. As common-
pool resources, not subject to proper regulation
and protection, many nontimber forest products
are vulnerable to exploitation and mismanage-
A primary ecological factor affecting the
sustainability of an extractive system is the
density at which the exploited species occur.

"A primary ecological
factor affecting the
sustainability of an
extractive system is
the density at which
the exploited species

14 A.

"Xateros" in the northern Petin prepare Xate
palm fronds for export.

Densities of Chamaedorea, Manilkara zapota,
and Pimenta dioica plants are on the whole
quite high due to the relatively low overall
species diversity of Peten's subtropical forests. A
recent survey of three sites in Peten found plant
densities of 47, 33 and 23 adult chicle trees/ha;
nine, 31, and 12 adult allspice trees/ha; and
2,279 and 2,479 Xate palms/ha (only the two
latter sites have numbers reported for Xate).
Higher densities increase harvesting efficiency.
Another important factor is the temporal
availability of forest products. In Peten, chicle is
harvested only during the rainy season (July to
February) when the latex flows readily. Although
Xate palm leaves are harvested year-round, the
peak market demand occurs between March and
June. Allspice is harvested in July and August,
when its fruit is almost ripe, after the peak Xate
period and before chicle tapping. The sequence of
harvest periods provides contractors and
harvesters with a year-round income while
moderating the extractive pressure placed on
continually available resources like Xate.

Potential Barriers to Success
A key element of unsustainable harvesting
is the lack of regulation or monitoring of
harvesters. Monitoring is made difficult and
time-consuming by the dispersion of the forest
products, the thick understory of the forest, and
the rapid and continuous pace of the harvesters.
Thus, harvesters are free to harvest as much as
they can, using any method they wish (e.g.,
cutting down allspice trees rather than pruning
them, although there appears to be social
pressure against such behavior).
In both the Xate and allspice industries,
harvesters are paid according to the quantity of
the harvest, regardless of quality, even though
Xate exporters penalize contractors for high
percentages of non-marketable leaves. For
various reasons these penalties are not passed
on to harvesters.
In addition, prices paid to harvesters are
very low, particularly for Xate. Harvesters often
take loans for their families or themselves when
first entering a camp. It may take up to three
months to repay the loan given the high price
of food in camp and the low price paid for Xate.
In the chicle industry, harvesters are paid
by weight of latex collected, yet contractors and
government officials sporadically test cooked
latex for impurities. In all industries, the

conditions described above create incentives to
harvest as much as possible as quickly as possible,
regardless of marketability, thereby increasing the
potential stress on plant communities beyond
ecologically sustainable levels. All of these factors
add up to increased uncertainty regarding the
availability of nontimber forest resources.
Harvesters cannot be sure that the forest
resources will be available when they return to a
certain camp. This further reduces the incentive
to sustainably harvest resources.

The second WRI Environmental Guide offers
plenty of forest facts to chew on. With numbers and
prose, this Guide leads us through a physical and
historical arboretum, makes an obligatory stop in
Amazonia, and points out that African and South-
east Asian forests, nearly one-half the world's total.
are ripe for picking. We ask, where the "resources
base is immense, the economic and political
problems are difficult, if not acute, the debt burdens
are severe, and the rural and institutional infra-
structure is crumbling", can governments conserve
tropical forests?
The Guide responds with twelve hopeful
suggestions, some being implemented, like
decentralization of forest management and debt-for-
nature swaps, others laudable but nebulous, like
redistribution of land more fairly and integrtioLn of
forest and wildlife management with social goals.
When the Guide talks money, education, and
perseverance as means to conserve the forests, it is
down to earth. The bullet list of eleven actions that
readers can take are realistic. The Guide concludes
with an annotated list of organizations concerned
with forest conservation.

Allegretti, M.H. 1990. Extractive Reserves: An
Alternative for Reconstructing Development and
Environmental Conservation in Amazonia, in
Alternatives to Deforestation: Steps Toward
Sustainable Use of the Amazon Rainforest. A.B.
Anderson (ed.), New York; Columbia Univ. Press.

Pro Peten, Attn: Abby Reis
Conservation International
1015 18th St. NW Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036 USA
Fax: (202) 587-5188


To order:
Brooks Clapp
World Resources Institute
1709 New York Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20006 USA
Fax: (202) 638-0036
Phone: (202) 638-6300



9 ..A* j i .. -

Diversify Your Diet

Try Some Cocona Cake,
Casserole, or Creamsickles
The Solanaceae family has given us
such popular vegetables as the tomato,
potato, eggplant, peppers, and tobacco.
Many other lesser-known, underused
Solanaceous species are waiting to become
our new flavor favorites. The versatile
cocona (Solanum sessiflorum), or peach-
tomato, is one such vegetable. Cocona
shows great potential to contribute
significantly to lowland tropical subsis-
tence agriculture and commercial produc-
tion as well.

A Chameleon in the Kitchen
The cocona plant looks like an eggplant
but its fruit resembles a tomato. The fruit
can be eaten plain, or used in a wide range
of dishes. It can be tossed into fruit or
vegetable salads, or blended into ices, juices,
or marmalades. The cocona fruit also can be
used in place of the tomato in dishes from
pastas to pies. It is high in vitamins A, C,
and niacin, which are particularly important
to women and children in tropical environ-
ments. In Peru cocona is valued for its
medicinal properties.

A Survivor on the Slopes
Cocona is a hardy plant, adapted to the
wet humid tropics of the upper Amazon and
altitudes below 1,000 m. It can survive on
acid soils of low fertility where few other
crops are produced. On rich, alluvial soils it
Cocona is not new to small farmers in
Iquitos, Peru. They tend the fruit in swidden
gardens or yard gardens and sell it on a
limited scale. The large fruit variety is
preferred for its flesh, the small-fruited
variety is used for juice. Wild populations
are spiny, cultivated ones are not. People
usually weed out the spinf varieties from
their gardens.
Cocona is sold on a seasonal basis in
Lima at a single cocona stand in the public
market. A small company in San Ramon,
Peru, cans a limited amount of cocona juice
and exports it to Lima and Italy.
Cocona stores, transports and processes
very well, remaining fresh for 40 days after
harvest. Its optimum yield on alluvial soils
is about 100 tons/ha.
Cocona production could be increased
with denser planting. Farmers plant cocona
at a density of 2m x 1m, but a mature plant
only occupies 1m2. In trials, the large-

variety cocona planted at a density 1
of 0.5m2 yielded up to 1O1 tons ha
under optimal conditions. as
compared to a yield of 15 tr.ns ha
at the traditional spacing 12m %
Im) under the same conditions.
In breeding trial. maternal
inheritance dominated fruit
characteristics. This trait makes
breeding and production easier or .
the small farmer.
Cocona has been recognized
by the National Acadeni of
Sciences as one of 36 underused
tropical plants ol promising
economic value due to these
* it is already being marketed and
processed locally,
* it is versatile and can be marketed for
multiple uses,
* it transports well, lasts long after harvest,
and processes well,
* it is nutritious and particularly well
suited to local nutritional needs,
* breeding is not difficult, allowing local
farmers more control over production,
* yield can be greatly improved and
available space can be optimized by
modifying plant spacing,
* it can be grown on poorer soils.
In summary, Cocona offers high
potential for both subsistence farming and

industrial processing, depending on the
variety grown, local land capability, and
management and capital inputs. This
unique fruit merits more research and
Based on:
Solick, J. Cocona (Solanum sessiliflorum) Production
and Breeding Potentials of the Peach-tomato. 1990.
New Crops for Food Industry, pp. 257-264. Edited
by G.E. Wickens et. al. Chapman and Hall.
Salick, J. Crop Domestication and the Evolutionary
Ecology of Cocona (Solanum sessiliflorum
Dunal).1992. Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 26, p.p.
247-285. Plenum Press, New York.


Marketing Strategies for Tropical Forest Products

What better way of contributing to
social and environmental conservation
than by purchasing and devouring a bag of
scrumptious crunchy brittle candy, or
buying a jar of slightly extravagant
cocoabutter massage cream to rub on your
aching, calloused feet. The price is higher
than the competition, but consumers know
they are contributing to the survival of
rainforest dwellers who harvest marketable
rainforest products.
This is the marketing strategy
employed by Cultural Survival Enterprises
(CSE), established in 1989. An off-shoot of
Cultural Survival Inc. (founded in 1972),
CSE has created and developed an income-
generating model based on non-timber
rainforest products (NTFPs). The CSE goal
is to maintain the biodiversity of the forest
while meeting the economic and social
needs of forest residents through sustain-
able extractive activities.
During the first year of operation, 17
U.S. based companies bought $349,000
worth of NTFPs and manufactured 19
products. In the second year trade in-
creased eightfold, constrained only by a
lack of working capital. An additional 75
companies are currently working on
product research and development.
Since launching their marketing effort
just three years ago, the people at CSE
have gained valuable insight into develop-
ing international and regional trade as a
means of supporting local conservation
and development. Here are some of the
lessons learned:
* Existing products stand the best chance
of rapid growth and benefit from interna-
tional markets. Even so, new product
development is by nature a slow process
and can take five to 10 years to show a
significant impact on local economics.
Gaining access to U.S. and European
markets is a lengthy process mainly due to
health and safety data requirements for
raw materials to be included in food or
* Diversification is essential to the
viability of forest extractive activity. It
reduces dependency on a few products.
However, diversification must imply the
gradual creation and development of one
product at a time. High-volume and/or
high-value items should be developed first
to create market momentum and increase

O- .** t **s' >- .*

financing to support lesser-known
products later on.
* Risk of failure can be reduced by
diversifying the number and type of end
users of NTFPs for each product.
Risk can be further reduced by entering
mainstream, organic or natural product
markets simultaneously. Each commodity
could be sold in local, regional, national
and international markets.
* Add Value Locally. Examine ways to
increase the value that is added to a
product as it leaves its source. This could
mean transporting the product further into
the market and eliminating an intermedi-
ary, or processing products locally. In the
case of Brazil nuts, shelling reduces
volume, cuts the weight by 2/3, and thus
the transportation costs. In some cases this
strategy can create a viable profit margin
otherwise insufficient or lacking.
* Capture value that is added further from
the source of production. Generally,
increased product value is added with each
transaction, transportation or other
alteration of the product away from its
source. Value added is related to labor and
capital investment, as well as scarcity and
monopoly. Producers or their supporters
should attempt to capture some of the
value added. For example, a 5% charge
added to the price of Brazil nuts sold in
New York would generate more $/lb than
doubling the price locally.
* Proposed solutions must equal the
scope of the problems. Because of the
vastness of deforestation, and the speed
with which it is occurring, a lasting
solution is needed, one that builds upon
itself and is replicable.
* A forest group cannot meet the demand
for many companies in North America or
Europe. The M&M Mars candy company
uses 70 metric tons of Brazil nuts in an
eight-hour production shift. The Xapuri
shelling plant produces this amount in one
year. Forest groups are obliged to focus on
smaller markets with high overhead, thus
increasing the end cost to the consumer.
Higher costs mean that lower- and middle-
income people will probably not buy the
product and the rainforest cause will
mainly reach and be supported by one
section of the population.
* Controlling a large market share of a
commodity allows considerable influence

over the entire market. This gives produc-
ers more leverage to benefit directly from
value added and profits generated. However,
unity among producers is essential to
obtain this leverage.
* Don't become greedy and speedy. Steps
to increase product value should be taken
judiciously. The removal of intermediary
people from the production and marketing
must be fully evaluated in the context of
differing economic conditions. Although
intermediary processes can be exploitative,
they often are necessary and their elimina-
tion could prove detrimental.
* In Northern markets rainforest aware-
ness is generally limited to protection of
plants and animals, not people. The
growing movement for NTFPs is an attempt
to move beyond concerns about recycled
packaging and personal health, to include
consumer awareness of people whose
survival depends on forest resources.
* Certification of environmental sustain-
ability is crucial. Because the primary
purpose of the growing green market is
animal and plant conservation, the harvest
and sale of plant commodities must be
monitored to ensure that they do not
become endangered.
Most human interactions with the
forest have an impact on biodiversity of the
plant and animal species within the forest.
Although some societies have long coex-
isted with plants and animals in the forest,
the effect of harvesting forest products
reverberates throughout the entire ecosys-
tem. An evaluation system must be imple-
mented at the onset of harvesting and
marketing for each species. Local commu-
nities must share in the responsibility of
monitoring the impact of harvesting, for
the sake of sustainability.
These are the major lessons learned
over the first year of CSE activities. There
will no doubt be other lessons to come as the
CSE model is implemented by others. *

Some General Principles and Strategies for Developing
Markets in North America and Europe for Non-Timber
Forest Products. Lessons from Cultural Survival
Enterprises, 1989-1990. Jason Clay.

Mayan Secrets for Modern Farmers

The ancient Mayans were able to
support a population of 2 million for more
than 500 years in the Peten Region of
Northern Guatemala, where today a
growing population of 300,000 is destroy-
ing the forest in order to survive. If the
practice of clearing and burning the Peten
to plant maize continues at its current rate,
this tropical ecosystem will be decimated in
25 years.
Many conservation and government
groups are exploring ways to create
protected areas. The Guatemalan govern-
ment has recently created the 3.7 million-
acre Mayan Biosphere Reserve in the
northern Peten. At the same time, a new
project called Centro Maya is developing
ecologically sound food production systems
and other economic alternatives for use
outside the protected zones.
Established in 1991 with the support
of USAID, Centro Maya includes the Rodale
Institute, the Tropical Agricultural
Research and Training Center (CATIE), the
University of San Carlos, and the Institute
of Agricultural Science and Technology
The goal of Centro Maya is to increase
food production in the Peten while
preserving the tropical forest. Headed by
Dr. Sergio Ruan, the multidisciplinary
team comprising Centro Maya hopes to
accomplish this goal through these
* Developing sustainable land use systems
with farmers. Preliminary work will clarify
contemporary farming practices, the
problems farmers face, and the factors that
influence their decisions. Centro Maya staff
already have begun testing potential
practices that include improved local corn
varieties, intercropping green manures to
control weeds and improve soil fertility.
Legume screening trials are also under
way. Future collaborative work will focus
on improving the harvesting of non- timber
forest products, such as chicle, Xate,
pepper, and mimbre (rattan), to ensure that
these products are harvested in a sustain-
able and economically viable manner.
* Better understanding ancient Mayan
agricultural systems, to adapt traditional
techniques to modern conditions. Re-
search tells us that the Mayans incorpo-
rated intensive home gardens, cover crops,
and complex water-management and
agroforestry techniques in their agricul-
ture. Working with archaeologists and
anthropologists, Centro Maya staff will

Dr. Sergio Ruano, Director of
Centro Maya. (at right)
discusses agricultural practices
with Peten farmers.

reconslrruct these Integralted ii
system~ at a center for sustainable
land use research. allowing
scientists to better understand
them. and adapt them tL-i modern .
production systems. '
* Promoting an ecotourism
industry. The Peten has much ti:
oller tourists. including a we'dlth jof
exotic plant and animal lite.
ancient Mayan ruins, and the
indigenous culture Ecotourism
would serve hto purposes: educate
the public about agriculture and
land use issues, and create a long-
term source of financial support. Contact:
Centro Maya has established a Guate- Dr. Sergio Ruano Mike Sands
malan NGO to allow continuity of the Centro Maya/CATIE Rodale Institute
activities. Rodale Institute staff are working Ciudad de Flores 611 Siegfriedale Rd
to develop the NGO's capacity to promote Pet6n, Guatemala Kutztown, PA 19530
Centro Maya and obtain future funding. Fax: 502-9-50039 Fax: (215) 683-6383

Development Strategies for Fragile Lands

Development Strategies for Fragile Lands
(DESFILI is a centrally funded project of the
I.S. Agency for International Development. The
project provides technical assistance to AID
missions, host countries, and private voluntary
organizations. Its goal is to help countries de-
velop strategies to improve the management of
fragile lands, including tropical rainforests.
DESFIL's first phase (1987-1991). which
focused on Latin America. demonstrated the
importance of participation by local people in
the design and implementation of programs to
improve resource management. The second
phase 11991-96) aims to consolidate those les-
sons and apply them to the problems of fragile
lands management worldwide, adding arid and
semi -arid zones to the categories of steep slopes
and humid tropical lowlands that were the focus
of the first phase.
The DESFIL strategy is to understand the
Interact ion between resource users and fragile
lands and then to fully incorporate resource
users into efforts to Improve fragile lands.

DESFIL Priority Areas
Indigenous people: Local populations have
developed natural resource management sys-
tems that they have sustained over long periods
of time. Population growth and other factors
are increasingly undermining these systems.

DESFIL emphasizes the role of indigenous
peoples as local ecological experts, examining
their contributions as resource users and their
responses to contemporary pressures.
Natural forests: Tropical forests are vital
for their rich biodiversity, their environmental
role. and their potential as sources of income.
Current rates of deforestation are rapidly de-
stroying those resources. DESFIL aims to slow
the conversion of forests to other uses and to
reforest degraded lands by promoting appropri-
ate management systems.
Sustainable agriculture: Soil erosion, fer-
tility loss.and overuse of agrichemicals isaccel-
erating throughout the world as a result of
common agricultural practices. DESFIL devel-
ops appropriate combinations of policies, tech-
nologies, and incentives to encourage the adop-
tion of farming methods that lead toviable long-
term productivity.
Genderissues:TheDESFI L Project stresses
an understanding of household gender roles as
essential to agroforestry research, as well as to
institution building, policymaking, and tech-
nulogy adaptation.
Ann Hamilton-DESFIL
2000 M Street N.W., Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036 USA
Fax: (202) 331-1871
Phone: (202) 331-1860


University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs