What is Agroforestry?
The objective of the project is to combine agricultural and forestry technologies aiming to create diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, ecologically sound and sustainable land-use systems for improved availability of NTFP raw materials in Barents region. Such land-use system is called agroforestry. Agroforestry is always governed, target-oriented concept in which investments are used or alternative costs are accepted in order to achieve the most profitable output.
Regions in Barents share a similar natural environment – a harsh climate, abundant natural resources and relative lack of agriculture, long distances from markets and high cost of land transport. Realizing growth opportunities for these regions is linked to the identification of absolute advantages, which can be used to add value around the unique assets supporting factors enabling productivity growth and economic vitality. One of these absolute advantages are the wild products of Barents Region forests:natural products, Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs). NTFPs originating from Barents arctic region are already utilized in niche markets. Reason for this is the positive image connected to Barents and arctic origin.
NTFPs of Barents region are considered healthy products of a clean, pristine and unique nature – an all-natural choice. However, the main bottleneck hindering development of the value chains and economic vitality dependent on NTFPs is the availability of raw material. Traditionally, forests of Barents region are harnessed to produce timber and primary production of NTPFs have been neglected. NTPFs aren´t governed nor managed. This has led to insecure availability of NTPF raw material, which is clearly visible in, for example Finnish MARSI statistics. These statistics describe the annual amount of wild berries and mushrooms in Finnish wholesale markets.