Non-timber forest products (NTFP) comprise a diversity of natural resources that support livelihoods of those along the chain from harvester to traders. The Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) recognises the importance of NTFPs in alleviating poverty and conserving biodiversity and has proposed directives to aid member states to implement appropriate regulations. Data on the regulations governing the chain and its impacts were collected from literature, 12 small and medium enterprises trading an NTFP known as okok (Gnetum spp.) from the production forests to the port of export in Cameroon, and workshops. Laws were bureaucratically, arbitrarily and weakly implemented and enforced. Of 18,368 financial transactions recorded, 81% were bribes, comprising 34% of trader's costs. Corruption in the permit system further creates high transaction costs, negative environmental impacts due to illegal and over-exploitation, and reduces government revenues. The regulatory framework does not promote an enabling business environment. Improvements in governance are imperative if the economic impact upon the livelihoods of thousands of people in the chain is to be maintained and enhanced to ensure sustainable trade. Recommendations to improve the sector in Cameroon include revisions in the regulatory framework and its implementation to increase transparency and counter corruption.
Tieguhong, J. C., Ingram, V. J., Mala, W., Ndoye, O., & Grouwels, S. (2015). How governance impacts non-timber forest product value chains in Cameroon. Forest Policy and Economics, 61, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2015.08.003