Harvesting candlenut in Sumbawa Besar, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia – Photo by Aulia Erlangga/CIFOR
Honey, nuts, teak and indigo
Kanoppi project helps improve smallholders’ livelihoods through landscape-scale management in eastern Indonesia
Across Indonesia, smallholder farmers harvest and sell forest products like candlenuts, honey and indigo, which, along with timber species such as teak, help to sustain both their livelihoods and forests.
But although traditional harvesting
practices have stood by them for generations, these smallholders stand to gain
much more from processing and marketing their goods more broadly, rather than
simply selling them locally.
A joint effort between CIFOR and the World Agroforestry (ICRAF) aims to develop the production and marketing of both timber and non-timber forest products that can improve smallholder livelihoods while promoting sustainable forest management. The Kanoppi project has worked with local partners to identify potential policy frameworks and institutional arrangements that can foster landscape-scale forest management for the benefit of smallholders.
Using a Participatory Action Research approach that involves smallholders and district- and provincial-level decision-makers in active discussions, the project aims to identify policies that may be limiting smallholders’ ability to access markets and fully engage in lucrative value chains. Kanoppi’s policy team facilitated the development of a district-level policy on integrated non-timber forest products (NTFPs) that was adopted at the provincial level in East Nusa Tenggara, and which will ensure research recommendations are included in government planning and budgets to support the development of priority NTFPs.
“This bottom-up approach has been
critical to gaining local buy-in and building support across levels,” said Ani
Adiwinata Nawir, a scientist at CIFOR. “The policy groups are designed to
continue beyond the life of the project, working together to bring their ideas
to provincial-level policy makers.”
Now in its second phase, the Kanoppi
project builds on earlier findings that showed farmers are keenly interested in
developing production – and marketing – systems for both types of forest
product. At smallholders’ request, the project created a series of short
step-by-step briefs outlining everything from harvesting, to value-added
processing to business planning strategies for a range of forest products.
In some cases, the project also
invited women to join ‘master tree growers’ training sessions, in which they
learned how to estimate the volume of timber in a stand of trees – something
smallholders previously relied on brokers to do. Equipped with this knowledge,
the women were better able to negotiate and get a better price for their wood.
“We found that in some areas, it’s
women who hold the power to negotiate with brokers, while the men invest the
money in the plot production,” said Aulia Perdana, a marketing specialist at
ICRAF. “We also focused on building capacity in the women’s group to increase
their collective bargaining power.”
Other initiatives include promoting
ecotourism in collaboration with the local communities and Forest Management
Unit in Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara. For example, the project facilitated the
construction of a ‘selfie tower’ in the
buffer zone of the neighboring protected forest, which has proven to be
extremely popular – and may even be helping to limit encroachment.
Kanoppi is currently developing an integrated forest landscape management strategy for Sumbawa Island and three main watersheds in West Timor, to identify policy frameworks and institutional arrangements that can foster landscape-scale forest management for the benefit of smallholders.
honey tradition brings commercial success
Each year, several members of the
Olin-Fobia community in West Timor, Indonesia spend a few weeks in the Mount
Mutis Nature Reserve, climbing up towering eucalyptus trees to gather wild
The resulting product – ‘Mt. Mutis’ honey – is exported to neighboring islands Java, Sulawesi and Bali, supporting not only local livelihoods and national forest policy, but also a tradition that is based on forest knowledge passed down through legends and folk tales. Kanoppi documented the honey harvest in a video that was published on Forests News and shared with the community in a ‘village viewing’ under the stars. And to give other Indonesian children a taste of this cultural tradition, the project produced a book which tells the story of 12-year-old brother-and-sister twins from Mutis Valley, who are allowed join the village adults on their annual honey harvest. Secrets of the Mutis Honey Hunters was distributed to schools and an animated video posted online and widely shared.
tough nut to crack
The candlenut tree is native to Nusa
Tenggara and can survive extreme dry seasons, making it a reliable source of
non-timber forest products, especially for women. It can also be intercropped
with other species like coffee. Candlenut oil is valued as hair tonic, skin
moisturizer, and as a condiment in many Indonesian and Southeast Asian
cuisines, and the shells can even be used for charcoal. But they are a tough
nut to crack – literally – and so farmers usually sell them whole at
a lower price.
In 2016, the project conducted a
study that found smallholders could make nearly USD 900 more per month by
processing the nuts themselves, even if they hired workers to help out. In a
five-day workshop run by local partners, men and women from Timor Tengah
Selatan, East Nusa Tenggara learned how make cold-pressed candlenut and coconut
oils, along with key business planning skills to better market their products. Participants
chose to pitch their goods to Bali-based spas and restaurants – with great
Kanoppi shared the workshop manual (in Indonesian) with communities in Sumbawa and Timor Tengah Selatan, East Nusa Tenggara to promote the production and marketing of candlenuts. Some of these communities are now able to train other communities, even those in the neighboring islands, in oil production and online marketing.
World Agroforestry (ICRAF), Forestry and Environmental Research Development and Innovation Agency of the Government of Indonesia (FOERDIA), World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF Indonesia), Murdoch University, Threads of Life, Mataram University, Gadjah Mada University, and Forest Management Units in three project sites (East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, and DI Yogyakarta).