Access to markets is key to the economic survival of any group of people. For those living in rural areas, it is becoming increasingly important with industrialised agriculture and urbanisation making rural producers less and less efficient. ‘Source to Sale’ explores diverse ways in which marginalised groups can make use of existing resources to create a profitable niche in the market.
Opportunity Knocks – Albania
When Albania emerged as a multi-party democracy after decades of communist dictatorship, attempts to overcome problems of poverty and unemployment were hampered by a general lack of experience of private sector enterprise. Now, however, the economy is growing rapidly. Opportunity International, a microfinance organisation, together with Partneri Shqiptar ne Mikrokredi, its local partner, are supporting many small and medium-sized enterprises to become more sustainable and successful.
Clean Break – UK
Glass is taken for granted. On average, every family in the UK disposes of around 500 glass bottles and jars a year, equating to about 2 million tonnes of used glass. Just 35 per cent of this was recycled in the UK in 2001.The disposal of glass poses a serious environmental problem, and the UK is lagging in the field of recycling ideas and practices. A company called Green Glass, however, has developed a system of glass recycling that is cheap, energy efficient, and effective. The system has also helped two South African entrepreneurs escape from the jaws of poverty.
Mango Mountains – Burkina Faso
Surviving on the margins of poverty, farmers in Burkina Faso must produce as much food as possible. However, over-production at certain times of year can lead to food being left to rot. In conjunction with UK fair trade food importers, ‘Tropical Wholefoods’, farmers have developed an efficient food drying system. This effectively and quickly dries the fruit with no need for preservatives. With advantages of long shelf-life, ease of transportation and low costs, dried fruits can provide a viable venture for many struggling farmers.
Money Grows on Trees – Cameroon
An estimated 240 million people living on the poverty line depend upon forests for a livelihood. However, in Cameroon over half the forest cover has been lost and 81 per cent of the country’s unprotected forest has been allocated to large multinational logging companies. Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) such as essences, oils, nuts, fruits and resins play a vital role in sustaining the lives of local gatherers, who must increasingly adapt to diminishing resources to stay alive.
Rattan to Grow – Cameroon
Rattan is one of the most important non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in Cameroon. The gathering, selling and processing of rattan has many advantages and can help forest-dependent people lift themselves from the margins of poverty. Recently, many research organisations have turned to rattan for forest conservation and sustainable development projects, and have developed processing and harvesting techniques that are designed to improve sustainability and income generation for the forest people.