Marketing chains for a range of non-timber forest products in Bolivia and Mexico. Final Report. A final output of project R7925


The report includes an analysis of the commercialisation of 11 Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) in Bolivia and Mexico.

An in-depth analysis is presented for three Mexican products: mushrooms (fresh, dried and matsutake mushrooms), Palma Soyate and pita; and two Bolivian products: cocoa and rubber. The analysis was based on community and marketing reports from the areas of study, plus a formal survey of collectors and traders in these areas. For each product the most important routes of the value chain were identified. These value chains are presented in the document graphically. For each route, commercialisation margins were estimated and the proportion of the end price taken by each actor calculated. Where sufficient data were available, enterprise budgets were calculated for the activity of trading and processing the NTFP by each actor. The budgets were used to calculate total profits, profits per unit of product traded and returns to labour. These outputs were generated in local currency, US$ and PPPs. The results produced were used to comment on the commercialisation hypotheses from the wider research study.

The remaining products (Mexico: Palma camedora, Maguey and Palma Tepejilote; Bolivia: Incense, Copal and Jipi Japa) have been analysed less thoroughly. The document presents their value chains and makes comments on the general development of these chains with regard to the hypotheses from the general study.

Issues discussed include how processing and end-use, substitution and cultivation of NTFPs affects the successful commercialisation of NTFPs and the management of natural resources. One of the original intentions of the analysis was to investigate the importance of transaction costs at different levels of commercialisation. However, insufficient data were available to carry out a quantitative analysis, therefore a conceptual framework of how policies could affect transactions costs of the different parts of a general value chain for a NTFP was developed.

A discussion is presented on the generality of the issues raises by the hypotheses. It is concluded that, although some of the methodologies used could be generalised, the issues raised by the hypotheses cannot be, and are specific to the products. However, the hypotheses themselves and the associated questions are an important framework for studying NTFP commercialisation.


Marketing chains for a range of non-timber forest products in Bolivia and Mexico, Final Report, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), London, UK, 128 pp.

Published 1 January 2004