COOPERFLORESTA is a cooperative of forestry associations in Acre, Brazil. The associations are made up of local community members, some of which sell FSC certified timber from their extractive reserves to the cooperative, who then markets the wood to local manufacturers. They are the focus of a project to develop market access and deliver business development training in the Amazon. FSC Brasil is a project partner and the Smallholder Support Program at FSC International is supporting their participation. Recently, the Centro dos Trabalhadores da Amazônia (CTA) (the local NGO guiding the project), Kairos (training on Solidarity Economy), and FSC Brasil held a 3 day training workshop open to all of the associations in COOPERFLORESTA to discuss the future plans for the cooperative . The Cooperative plans to expand their certified area and bring more products under the scope of their certificates. A key element of this training was market information and value chain analysis. CTA has done an extensive review of supply and demand in the region and this will be used as a reference for the cooperative’s planning process. Value chain analysis was introduced and the community was able to draw their value chain, identify all of the actors and supporters in the chain and map the flow of products. This enabled them to see the local trajectory of their timber and discuss interventions in the chain to capture more value from their forests. FSC International was there to compare notes with the trainers on the course content, and to talk with the producers about their perspectives on this approach.
The Smallholder Support Program has just released the first draft of a set of modules developed by RECOFTC , FSC IC, and ProForest in which value chain analysis is a major tool in helping smallholders in Asia develop their businesses, plan their approach to adding value to their forest products, and access markets for these products. The time with COOPERFLORESTA was an excellent cross-site visit for both the Amazon and Asia projects and the learning from both is invaluable for moving these projects towards achieving their stated objectives. The modules for smallholders in Asia will be in testing this year and are expected to be publicly available in early 2013. For more information on the modules and about training projects in Brasil and Asia and how they could be useful in your region, contact the Smallholder Support Program at a.gough at fsc point org.