The Biodiversity-Based Products as an Economic Source for the Improvement of Livelihoods and Biodiversity Protection, or the BBP Project, recently signed three local subsidy contracts (LSC) with the Cambodian government to pave the way for establishing biodiversity-friendly enterprises for villages in the Phnom Kulen National Park (PKNP).
The project involves developing two biodiversity-based enterprises in the PKNP area — the production of tea made from black ginger, or Kaempferia parviflora, and of handicrafts made from vines. The plants and vines that are the raw material for these enterprises are abundantly found in PKNP, and developing sustainable enterprises using these resources is expected to help reduce people's dependence on livelihood activities that negatively impact the park.
The BBP Project adopts a value chain development approach, which means that support will be provided to address the biggest gaps in each step of the enterprise — from harvesting or planting of raw materials, to processing or production, and all the way to marketing.
Efforts will build on traditional values and local knowledge, but will also introduce innovations to improve product quality and ensure sustainable harvesting of the natural resource base.
Many of the villagers are especially looking forward to the assistance that the project will facilitate in terms of finding markets or traders for their products, which they have been sorely needing.
“We are waiting for the project to start that will help us to find more market for our ginger with better price,” said Mr. Sum Samnag, one of the villagers who is engaged in planting and producing the medicinal plant Kaempferia parviflora, which is known to regulates blood circulation and increase energy, among others.
The project will benefit at least 45 households in PKNP. It is also hoped that the efforts of these households will be able to demonstrate the viability of the enterprises for the rest of the villagers and for other areas to follow.
Under this project, the involved community members undergo various training programmes to ensure sustainable harvesting and high quality of the black ginger tea and vine handicrafts to be produced. Activities are also lined up to link the local producers to profitable markets and to ensure that they have enough business management skills to keep the enterprises running effectively.
In addition, the project will also study other non-forest timber products or other plant species in the area that could potentially be developed as additional biodiversity-based enterprises in the future.
The LSCs were signed between GFA Consulting Group GmbH, representing the BBP Project, with the General Secretariat of the National Council for Sustainable Development of Cambodia's Ministry of environment (GSSD/MOE). GSSD is responsible for the site implementation and overall management of the projects.