1 September 2019
Promoting sustainable forest management, conservation and income generation projects.
�Two or three years ago I was always interested to read of the splendid work of the Natural Resources Development Foundation (NRDF),� a Solomon Islands non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to promoting and supporting sustainable and natural resource management by local landowners, in turn protecting social, economic and environmental assets.
�With the aid of key development partners, such as USAID, Bread for Life and the Dutch Millennium Foundation (DMF), the NRDF concentrated on sustainable forest management, forest conservation and the livelihoods of the people.
�In 2017 the NRDF was actively working with communities in Choiseul and Western Province with the aim of establishing saw milling businesses through infrastructure training and networking.
�By advising on sustainable forest management communities began to see a higher portion of their income from their timber resources and encouragement was given by NRDF for landowners to set aside at least 10 percent of their land for conservation.
�Working with women and non-landowner groups, NRDF actively encouraged income generating activities, including honey, coconut oil, soap making and other small agricultural projects.
�It was in late 2017 that craftsmen from the Fair Furniture Company, based in the Netherlands visited Choiseul to examine the scope for local furniture manufacturing.
�After visiting three islands, the craftsmen left the Solomon Islands having identified local artists and talented craftsmen capable of creating a furniture business using local raw materials.
�It was claimed all the outcomes and observations made during the visit would be presented in a report and serve as guidance for further actions to develop a unique furniture project which was considered likely to benefit timber producers and furniture makers in the NRDF�s project areas.
�I have not seen much since 2017 relating to NRDF and certainly nothing to substantiate that the idea of creating a furniture making business eventuated.
�It would be a great pity, in my view, if NRDF was no longer active in promoting and encouraging forest management, conservation of the forests and helping communities with income generation projects.
�Would it be possible to get some clarification of whether NRDF is still active and, indeed, whether in line with down stream processing there are businesses successfully making furniture for export or local sales?