, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 461-474
Date: 04 Nov 2012

The Contribution of Small-Scale Forestry-Based Enterprises to the Rural Economy in the Developing World: The Case of the Informal Carpentry Sector, Sudan

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Small-scale forestry-based enterprises connected with wood processing are becoming of growing importance in the rural economy of developing countries. Little attention has been paid to the characteristics of these enterprises and their role in supporting economic development. The objectives of this study are to: (1) determine the socioeconomic characteristics of the operators of these enterprises; (2) assess the contribution of the informal carpentry sector to operators’ income; and (3) identify the factors limiting the expansion of the sector. The study was carried out in the Singa district, Sinnar State in 2011. Snowball sampling was used to select 250 operators from five markets in the district. The quantitative and qualitative data were collected using Participatory Rural Appraisal methods. The results revealed that most operators involved in the informal carpentry sector are males aged <30 years and their businesses have been in existence for <10 years. Operators’ incomes ranged between USD 100 and 500 monthly on average. The results also indicated that the operators face many constraints (e.g. finance shortage, lack of raw materials, insecure market, lack of technology and lack of organization) to expanding the informal carpentry sector. The study concluded that the informal carpentry sector has potential to contribute to rural economic development through increasing income and reducing rural poverty.