By Oluwabukola Akanni
A researcher, Mrs Titilayo Oguntoye, has urged aspiring entrepreneurs to explore the economic potential of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs).
Oguntoye of the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) Ibadan said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Ibadan.
She said that forest resources were the mainstay of economic development of the country in the 60s and 70s.
“The neglect of the development of the renewable sector of our economy has contributed to our present economic predicament.
“While the timber components have been widely acknowledged as great contributor to both national and local economies; the equally important non-timber components have however received little attention,” she said.
The researcher said that non-timber products consisted of naturally grown stocks of forest resources which could be processed for local and external trade.
“NTFPs are any biological resources found in woodlands, except timber.
“They include a wide range of edibles and non-edibles such as fruits, seeds leaves, nuts, bush meats, roots tubers, fibres, resin, latex, sticks, snails, edible insects, honey and mushroom,” she said.
According to her, NTFPs can be harnessed as a means of poverty alleviation and rural employment.
“The role of NTFPs for sustainable forest use and poverty alleviation has received increased attention for its important benefits such as goods, income and employment.
“Non-forest products also create employment and income from small scale non-farm enterprises activities and are becoming increasingly important in rural economy,” she said.