Browsing by Subject "Brazilian Amazon"

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  • Vuola, Matleena (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    While export of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) has been promoted as a sustainable development strategy, the literature suggests that local and regional markets are also potentially important, not only for producers but also for traders and consumers (Shackleton et al. 2007). For producers, regional markets are thought to offer more accessible and more stable markets, while for traders, these markets offer employment, and for consumers, reasonably priced, diverse, fresh food. Consumption habits are changing in developing countries primarily due to urbanization and commercialized food systems as described by Johns and Maundu (2006). One result is the so-called “nutrition transition,” in which people adopt diets that are higher in energy (more added sugar and fat) but have less nutritional quality (Popkin, 2004). In this context, Johns and Sthapit (2004) argue that it should be a policy priority to promote a diverse diet including a lot of indigenous foods (fruits, vegetables and whole grain products) and a proper amount of animal products. In addition to their potential dietary contributions, forests also offer a diversity of traditional medicinal plants. Many people rely on these plants as a health care option because they are cheap, efficient and have cultural meaning. Medicinal plants are important for both the rural and urban poor in the Brazilian Amazon where the healthcare system is weak and unemployment is increasing (Shanley & Luz, 2003). In this thesis, I characterize the market for NTFPs in a major regional market in the Brazilian Amazon (the city of Belém), drawing on a survey of consumers in 2006 through 2009 (overall sample n=2635 consumers) that focused on seven popular NTFPs native to the area: a?ai palm fruit, medicinal oils (andiroba and copaiba), fruits (piquía, uxí, bacuri), and Brazil nut. In the first section, I describe who is buying NTFPs and identify trends in consumption across the four years of the survey. In the second section, I develop a market segmentation analysis, identifying, characterizing, and describing trends among different types of NTFP consumers. The market segments are identified based on two-step cluster analysis in SPSS. The results confirm that people in Belém use a wide variety of NTFPs, with fruits being the most commonly consumed. The seven focal NTFPs were popular during the study period, with over 95% of respondents reporting use of at least one of these products. However, the people who use NTFPs are not necessarily aware that they are consuming products from the native forest: according to the cluster analysis, half of the consumers fall into market segments that either do not consider themselves as NTFP consumers or are not aware that they consume NTFPs. These segments are comprised of people with less education and lower income, more females, and more long-term urban residents including natives of Belém. The other consumer segments, characterized by higher income and education and more recent migration to Belém, have greater awareness of NTFPs. If these segments grow, that could imply growth in demand for forest products. However, over the four years of the study, there was actually a decreasing trend in consumption of NTFPs, indicated by declining average counts of NTFPs and declining proportions of respondents who consume the focal products. This could be due to increasing prices, also observed in the data, which in turn may be due to the on-going forest degradation that is well-documented in the literature on the Brazilian Amazon.