Corn from the fields, extra income from the forest. Nowadays forests are an important source of extra income for landowners in Central America. Until the 1990s only central governments’ had the right to sell forest. The end of the civil wars in the region changed the situation, and legislative amendments gave private landowners the right to sell timber.
Between 1992 and 2003 the Regional Forestry Programme for Central America (PROCAFOR) helped, with Finland’s support, smallholders in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Belize, El Salvador and Panama to get income from their forests. The programme helped forest owners to get organised and cooperate with each other, and it also developed advisory and funding schemes and promoted technology and product development. Forest owners received advice on felling methods and transport and further processing of wood. As a result they were able to earn a higher income than from the sale of timber alone. Finland also helped to transform the national forest administrations into service and advisory organisations for forest owners. Finland has supported smallholders’ forestry development even in Tanzania, Zambia, Laos and Kenya.
Photo: , graphics: Juho Hiilivirta