The land use practices of target upland areas are still driven by food security reasons. But today, their integration into the market economy is definitely the main driver of the land use changes. The booming of commercial mono-crops such as banana, rubber, cassava, sugarcane or maize production is also re-shaping rapidly the upland landscapes and putting pressure on forest land areas due to the increasing completion for suitable plots. Increasing demand for some NTFP niche products such as wild tea, red mushrooms, orchids, etc., can provide fantastic new economic opportunities but could also jeopardise the sustainable use and availability of these resources if it lacks of management.

The Premium aspect of Nyot Ou tea ensured by the quality of the leaves and the terroir, is an important lever for the development of a quality and sustainable sector. However, the sustainable development of the territory and the tea sector are weakened by various structural and economic factors. Tea production is sold via cross-border ridge roads, limited quantity and frequency of the travels. Some families have difficulties in selling and are dependent on the few traders who still pass through the village. Farmers still often have little knowledge of the market and value chains of their products. The majority of people do not know the final prices for tea in retail markets, the current expectations and demands of buyers and consumers, and how to meet them. In addition, due to the increasing demand for forest teas there is an increased risk of overexploitation of wild and ancient tea trees and their environment. In forest areas, competition for non-timber forest products, especially old tea plants, often leads to an increase in intra and inter-village conflicts, the lack of regulation in these areas also leading to a rapid reduction in wildlife and wild flora. Within the rural ethnic communities targeted by the action, common land, whether agricultural or forestry, constitutes the bulk of the family’s land resources. Access to this common land ensures both their economic security – notably through the collection of forest tea, as well as food and nutrition.

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