For a few reasons. Many rural communities are going through a period of transition as some resource-based activities decline in value and importance; other communities are searching for ways to reduce under- and un-employment and increase their social and economic stability through diversification of their economic base. Although the NTFP harvest is already probably worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars in Canada, relatively little information is available to individuals or groups wishing to enter into, maintain or expand their activities in the NTFP industry. More specifically, a training course for NTFP business development is needed because:
- Many experts believe the NTFP industry will expand dramatically over the next decade, providing opportunities for new entrants who will require training specific to the industry;
- As the NTFP industry is in a state of flux, the ability on the part of individuals and communities to respond effectively to the markets for NTFP’s will require a set of very particular skills and strategy-development abilities;
- Capturing the greatest possible value at the local level from these products will require developing an ability to assess the opportunities these products provide, which in turn requires the development of entrepreneurial and other skills;
- As is the case with other small enterprises, individuals, forest communities and First Nations planning a commercial venture around one or more NTFPs must have a solid grounding in business skills to increase their chances of success in the industry.