Contribution of non-timber forest products to rural household economy and conservation: a case of Rural Mufindi District, Iringa Region, Tanzania
Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) are highly valued worldwide and available in catchment forests in Tanzania. They play an important role in contributing and sustaining household’s livelihoods around forest areas. A study was conducted to analyse the contribution of NTFPs to rural household economy and conservation. Data was generated through household questionnaires, key informant interviews, Focus Group Discussion and researcher direct observations. Quantitative data were analysed using SPSS software while content analysis was applied for the qualitative data. Findings have shown the differences of market trends between NTFPs and agricultural products. Results disclose that, most (86.7%) rural households engaged in agriculture activities. It was observations that, agricultural produce is more on market despite its market price fluctuation that was associated seasonality. Furthermore, NTFPs were sold when in surplus at household levels. Analyses further indicated that NTPFs business was largely conducted by female respondents than males. Respondents indicated a number of challenges facing the NTFPs business including: securing a sustainable resource supply, accessing market information and developing ways of overcoming uneven power and barriers to market entry. The study recommends that government should employ more forest officers and provide education on direct economic importance of NTFPs to improve rural household business environment.
Keywords: Non-Timber Forest Products, Rural Mufindi households, Economy, Conservation