Those who conduct business based on non-timber forest products usually lack understanding of modern market potential. Other challenges include confusion about financial and jurisdictional issues among a major part of the local population, questionable transportation accessibility, and the expensive certification process. However, properly prepared and processed these berries and plants could be competitive on the markets in Canada and Korea, as well as in the European part of Russia. The price of these products can be very attractive for a seller.
For several years the CITI foundation and WWF Russia have been working together in Altai and Tuva supporting people, who live with nature in harmony. This year, the Citi Foundation and WWF-Russia initiated a joint project in Kamchatka to support small businesses that focus on gathering and trading non-timber forest products, such as mushrooms, berries and plants. The project can provide an alternative source of revenue for small tribal communities by developing a sector that still is vastly underrepresented in the region.
About 40 new jobs will be created in 2016 in Kamchatka in the framework of the joint project. The number of new jobs created is probably the major marker of the project successfulness. The project is aimed at people in remote settlements, where poaching for salmon has been the only source of income for decades. Although, new jobs are seasonal, they give real and legit source of income for many families, distracting them from unlawful activity. As a result, the joint project of WWF and Citi Foundation, meant to support wild harvesting, is actually trying to solve long-term problems: salmon conservation and struggle with poaching.
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