Introduction

The NTFP-ME project’s full title is “Non-Timber Forest Products micro-enterprises project (NTFP-ME) for competitive forests and livelihoods in Ethiopia (2018-2021)”. It addresses a set of connected issues inhibiting community-based enterprise development in southwest Ethiopia. These challenges are linked to biodiversity and the need to   provide local communities with livelihoods supported by under-utilised non-timber forest products (NTFPs). Such economic development can be the basis of sustainable forest use and maintenance. The project particularly focuses on developing value chains which enable economically excluded local women to create micro-enterprises targeting new national and international markets.

Location and Origins

The project is being implemented in four districts (woredas) in Bench-Sheko and Sheka Zones of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS) (Figure 1). The University of Huddersfield (UoH) has been working in this area since 2010 supporting the communities and local government with the introduction of a highly devolved form of Participatory Forestry Management (PFM) which empowers the communities to protect, manage and use sustainably their forests. New legislation at the regional (2012) and federal levels (2018) support PFM and promote local sustainable opportunities for forest-based economic development alongside the maintenance of forest and its biodiversity.