in: Forest Policy and Economics 97 (December), 223-231
Commercialization of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) has been one of the strategies in addressing rural poverty and forest degradation. This strategy has been explored on the island of Palawan in the Philippines for indigenous wild honey hunter and gatherers through a community forestry enterprise, which transformed a traditional practice of honey gathering into an economic activity. In this paper, we conducted an integrated value chain analysis to assess whether the enterprise is able to support livelihoods in a fair and just manner, maintain its natural capital, and preserve indigenous culture. Using both qualitative and quantitative approaches, we found that downstream actors capture most of the economic value of wild honey by having a gross margin of 585.00 Philippine Peso (PhP) per kilo of honey compared to 30.74 PhP per kilo gross margin of honey hunters. The Tagbanua honey hunters do not perform hunting rituals previously performed by their ancestors. Majority of the community members still use honey, but in low amounts, i.e. less than one liter per year. In conclusion, we establish that commercializing traditional indigenous practices as a livelihood strategy should not only focus on positive gross margins but also consider socio-cultural practices and ecological sustainability.