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Our Work

Practical, flexible development models that address the needs of rural communities and markets while achieving conservation goals

HRF focuses on linking market demand to community needs by providing specialist inputs in market analysis, capacity building, community development, education, resource assessment, conservation, sustainable harvesting, participatory planning and policy interventions. The key to our success is choosing the right product mix (based on demand, biology/ecology, production system and infrastructure) and developing strong, sound relations with reputable buyers.

The HRF development model builds capacity for commercialization by striking a balance between market demand, local capacity and community needs. Particular strengths of the model include:

  • Market-driven identification of products with the greatest potential
  • Participatory identification of economic objectives
  • Emphasis on the need to minimize economic risk to the grower
  • Integration of production activities into the production cycle
  • Support for the establishment of ethical relationships between communities, manufacturers and traders, etc.

While the approach is market-orientated, the best interests of the grower guide the process of product selection and entry into the market. The overall aim is to minimize the risks to the growers involved in commercialization. HRF works towards this by a number of different means, including capacity building, access to market information, market links, and others.

Examples of our recent work:

  • Market assessment and commercialization model for the development of wild medicinal botanicals in Graham County, North Carolina, USA (HRF)
  • Assessment of small-scale enterprises compatible with watershed management in the Panama Canal (HRF/Virginia Tech University)
  • Revitalization of the botanicals industry in Albania (HRF/Chemonics/USAID)
  • Needs assessment for non-timber forest products industry association in the Russian far east (Winrock/USAID)
  • Market research opportunity assessment and recommendations for Malaysia (Malaysian Ministry of Agriculture)
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