Mariatou Faal–Njie said for such people, forest and trees often represent a source of food, fuel, animal feed, medicine, building materials and cash income.
The FAO official made this remark at a recent five-day regional training session on Market Analysis and Development (MA and D), held at a local hotel and organised by Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) project under FAO.
Training on MA and D helps to enhance the entrepreneurial capacities of local communities to have access to market opportunities to be able to improve their cash income.
Mrs Faal-Njie said such trainingalso provides important planning and decision-making tools that enable those with a direct stake in forest resources to become part of sustainable forest utilisation, management and decision-making.
“The goal of MA and D is to assist people living in rural communities to develop enterprises that generate and improve incomes, while also sustainably using and managing their forest resources.”
On the importance of the forest, Mrs Faal-Njie said it could serve as a safety net for local communities, contributing to their ability to respond and adapt to shocks and changes.
It is in view of this that the FAO promotes the establishment of small-scale tree and forest product-based enterprises, through its community-based enterprises development programme, she said.
The assistant FAO country representative further said the major focus of the programme is to develop the capacity of community-based tree and forest products’ enterprises through training on the MA and D approach.