TDC’s support for the Peruvian loggers

TDC gave financial support to different Peruvian producers, including one to the Conibo Shipibo communities, in the heart of the Amazon land. They traditionally live off the forest and from logging but middlemen pay very little for their timber. In 2005, with the help of the Peruvian NGO AIDER (Asociación para la Investigación y el Desarrollo Integral), they were the first  indigenous communities to become FSC certified and there was hope this would bring economic improvement. But that did not work out. They were organisationally weak and unable to deliver the required quality and quantities. The potential was present, but the necessary basis was lacking.

At the request of BOS+, a Flemish NGO that promotes sustainable forestry, the TDC started funding a three-year project in 2010. It started with a series of training session for community members in administration, accounting, strategic planning and marketing. Technical workshops were held in the field. But the most important action was doubtlessly the construction – with funds of the TDC and other donors – of a storage centre. Not only is timber gathered there, but it is also cured, sawn and processed, to keep the added value in the region.

Handicrafts and other forest or timber products from the communities can also be stored at the centre. To manage the centre as well as the sales, the five communities involved, with the help of AIDER, launched the first ‘indigenous’ business in Peru's Amazon region: Citeindigena (Centro De Transformación e Innovación Tecnológica Indígena).

TDC’s intervention

At the request of BOS+, a Flemish NGO that promotes sustainable forestry, the TDC started funding a three-year project in 2010. It started with a series of training session for community members in administration, accounting, strategic planning and marketing. Technical workshops were held in the field. But the most important action was doubtlessly the construction – with funds of the TDC and other donors – of a storage centre. Not only is timber gathered there, but it is also cured, sawn and processed, to keep the added value in the region. Handicrafts and other forest or timber products from the communities can also be stored at the centre. To manage the centre as well as the sales, the five communities involved, with the help of AIDER, launched the first ‘indigenous’ business in Peru's Amazon region: Citeindigena (Centro De Transformación e Innovación Tecnológica Indígena).

Unique asset

The first results are encouraging. The project created jobs, boosted awareness about sustainable forest management and provided communities with higher revenue. 10% of the revenue is invested in a community infrastructure fund to build schools and power lines. But there is still a long
commercial way to go, partially because many Peruvian buyers are not willing to pay higher prices for certified timber and partially because the products do not sufficiently meet market demand as a result of which exports are a pipe dream.

To remedy this, Citeindigena, AIDER and BOS+ have plans for a bilingual website, a larger catalogue and, particularly, an in-depth national and international search for potential customers. “We have approved this follow-up project,” says Steven De Craen, “because we want to give Citeindigena the opportunity to capitalise on their unique asset: certified timber of an indigenous business, which is unique to Peru where illegal logging is the rule rather than the exception.”

 

Read more on TDC’s projects : Small producers on the road to improved market access