“Smallholders are a cornerstone of the FSC system,” said Kim Carstensen, Director General of FSC International. “This fund is designed to help them – and the forests they manage – benefit from the FSC marketplace,” he added.
The fund will promote objectives such as certification readiness, compliance with FSC Principles and Criteria, strengthening smallholder organizations, building capacity for entrepreneurship, enhancing supply chain management and improving market access for FSC-certified products.
This fund is an important part of FSC’s ongoing commitment to smallholders, who own and manage much of the world’s forestland. Frequently, smallholders require additional support to earn FSC certification and the fund is designed to address some of these needs.
Specifically, the fund can help smallholders prepare for FSC certification, address compliance costs, invest in new machinery or market their products. The fund cannot support direct audit costs, vehicles, office supplies, real estate acquisition or rent, payment of debts or taxes, staff salaries or other costs such as social or health insurance.
A percentage of the FSC Annual Administration Fee is being used to create the Smallholder Fund. Initial distribution of funding will occur in October 2013. To be eligible, applicants must meet criteria for small or low-intensity production or be community producers. Applicants may be FSC certified or non-certified and may seek single-use grants (one year, €5,000–30,000) or multi-use grants (up to three years, €5,000–50,000).
Applicants must complete a “pre-selection phase” questionnaire about their business, with information about how they would use the grant. National and regional FSC offices will screen applications and selected applicants will be asked to submit a full proposal. The deadline for submitting a pre-selection questionnaire is 30 June 2013.
“We know the benefits of FSC certification for landowners of all sizes, but smallholders face some unique challenges,” said Carstensen. “With relatively modest amounts of support, we can help create new opportunities for these landowners and managers,” he closed.
More information is available here.