Final meeting Šumadija and Western Serbia
Cooperation between public and private (SME) sector in the area of NWFPs
As a part of StarTree’s stakeholder engagement activities, representatives of 8 private and public institutions and organisations active in the non-wood forest product (NWFP) sector have attended the 3rd Šumadija and Western Serbia stakeholder meeting on September 28, 2016 in Belgrade, under the topic “Cooperation between public and private (SME) sector in the area of NWFPs”.
The agenda of the meeting consisted out of presentation and discussion on the results of the StarTree project: household survey, Delphi survey, IDCSs (for Serbia), international prices of NWFPs. In addition, the following StarTree deliverables were also presented and discussed: StarTree Wiki, Innovation Generator, Marketing of NWFPs course materials.
The meeting started with short overview of the StarTree project: "From where we started and what was our goal?". After each presentation, the group discussed the relevant topic, as follows:
1) the relevance of households survey;
2) the supply chain actors and activities;
3) the behaviour of collectors and reasons why there is lack of collectors;
4) StarTree deliverables (wiki, innovation generator, etc.) and how they can be further disseminated.
At the end, instead of conclusions, the general discussion was held, with the following topics:
1) the usefulness of information gathered within the project for their work;
2) lessons learned and fulfillness of their expectations from the StarTree project.
Participants of the meeting agreed that the results of the StarTree project are useful. They are willing to use the lessons learned in their everyday job. As in the previous meetings, they expressed the needs for further research in this area. From their point of view, very important was the knowledge transfer from other regions. They also expressed the need for disseminating StarTree reports, publications, brochures, etc. within the local stakeholders (local population, government agencies, municipalities, other SMEs (wider stakeholders group) and willingness to help in these activities. They repeated the message from the previous meetings, that, despite slightly better cooperation between private and public sector, there is a continuing need to create a single representative of the private sector (in the form of association, branch within the Chamber of commerce, etc.). The common view of participants is that the best outcome of the project would be the creation of a core group for national NWFPs association.
The general message of the meeting was that the members of Regional Stakeholder Group were glad to participate, as this was unique opportunity, to gather representatives of different institutions and organisations, from the key sectors involved in NWFPs business, and make fruitful discussions. For sure, NWFPs sector is still under-developed, but it has a lot of potentials. The systematic approach in planning of the further development is needed. Such approach requires engagement of private sector, local and national government, research institutions, NGOs (environment and private forest owners), and chamber. There is space for more research in this area, but they are satisfied with the project results, as this was one of the first research in this field, with such a broad topics.
Bearing in mind this success, and their need for establishment of an association, they suggested further activities in this field, such as looking for different national and international calls for grants that would support the foundation of such association. The association should be maintained by independent individuals, which goal would only be the development of NWFPs sector in Serbia, and not individual, subjective interests of certain company.