UNDP-WWF Project Supporting Sustainable Harvesting of Cash Crops in China
21 May 2012: A new UN Development Programme (UNDP) and World Wildlife Federation (WWF) project is supporting farmers in adopting common cash-crop species suitable for collective planting and sales.
The project is being implemented in response to the fact that an estimated 75% of commercially harvested traditional Chinese medicinal plants are found in the mountain landscapes of the upper Yangtze River basin. Rather than prohibiting harvesting, 18 participating villages can generate a 20% increase in cash income through the project, and gain a foothold in a market that is growing at 12% annually.
In Daping village, a plant known for its use in traditional Chinese medicine, Schisandra, was selected as a suitable cash-crop to help villagers generate income. UNDP organized workshops and lectures to promote sustainable harvesting and management of the crop and, with WWF support, helped set up a community conservation committee. WWF also assisted with the establishment of a non-profit producers' association. Schisandra crops from the Daping village recently were certified as organic by the US and the EU, and the association has signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with an international purchaser.
The project is supported by a US$1.8 million grant under the EU-China Biodiversity Programme. [UNDP News]