Participative Innovation Platforms (PIP) for Upgrading NTFP Value Chains in East Africa:

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Improving forest product value chains is considered a means to solve forest-related challenges in the Global South. The ‘Participative Innovation Platform’ (PIP) instrument has been developed to design and to continually adapt solutions and strategies for effective cooperation amongst value chain actors. The instrument is rooted in the action-oriented and social learning approach, combined with the concept of innovation systems. This paper presents findings from three PIPs conducted for upgrading non-timber forest product value chains in Ethiopia (bamboo, natural gums) and Sudan (gum Arabic). A comparative analysis of highest ranked contents revealed similarities in the challenges: lack of government support, poor infrastructure, producers’ lack of knowledge and skills, and lack of market information. Priority upgrading measures focused on producers’ knowledge, skills, and capacity to engage in collective action and to lobby interests, and on capital resources to invest in processing technology. It is concluded that although the PIP instrument presents an innovative way to upgrade forest-based value chains, the instrument requires a long-term process with frequently held platform meetings, conducted by neutral institutions with skilled moderators. Crucial in this process is the need to consistently verify and ensure that all actor groups of the chain are represented, and are confident they will derive benefits from the value chain upgrading.


Original languageEnglish
JournalSmall-scale Forestry
Publication statusPublished - 2020

External IDs

Scopus 85091496259