FFF Associates provides assistance to the botanicals industry worldwide
in such key areas as:
Research and Development
Environmental Protection and Conservation
Most foreign dealers in developing countries are severely lacking
in knowledge of international markets, requirements, trade norms,
communications, and marketing skills. Government policies and practices
are often contradictory and not in the best interest of the botanical
industry. Moreover, a number of botanical products are either endangered
or degraded. Our consultants prepare and implement extensive training
programs for all the above listed areas. In addition, we are committed
to providing our clients with the best in market intelligence and
To develop a sustainable institutional framework for the botanical
industry, FFF Associates has provided hands-on technical assistance
for the establishment of trade associations that provide effective
advocacy and services to support the business, technical, and management
requirements of members. Our consultants also help develop industry
clusters and pilot enterprises that are examples and momentum for
sustained growth, introduction of updated technology, and development
of export markets.
Highlights of some of our recent activities in Agribusiness Development
include the following:
• Trained Albanian growers
utilizing the American Spice Trade Association’s (ASTA’s)
“Clean Spices” Program, aimed at the herb and spice
cluster (from growers and collectors to dealers and exporters),
which emphasized quality, sanitation, processing, quality control,
• Produced a “Laboratory
Methods Manual” and conducted a study tour including laboratory
training methods relevant to improving the quality of selected
• Developed and implemented
project to build a new warehouse and processing facility in cooperation
with regional and local agencies.
• Worked with the Government
of Papua New Guinea’s Department of Primary Industries to
establish new vanilla production and set-up a centralized vanilla
curing facility in Rabaul. As a result, PNG’s vanilla production
increased from only a few kilos in 1995, to nearly 100 tons today,
with a market value of $10 million.
• In partnership with Cooperative
Business International, assisted in the establishment of Sumatra
Tropical Spices, a company partly owned by the cinnamon farmers
in Sumatra, to successfully clean and export 5,000 tons of cinnamon
per year. This facility became profitable in its third year of
operation and is now the leading cinnamon exporter in Indonesia.
Recent activities in Increasing the supply and quality of agricultural
products for export include:
• Our recent successful experience
in cultivation of selected herbs in Albania can provide “lessons
learned” specifically in the identification of herbs, spices
and botanicals that have a potential for export.
• Our training programs and
one-on-one firm level support in Albania helped processors understand
the need for quality assurance programs and systems and improved
quality to achieve value-added for their products.
Work in organizational (association) development includes the following:
• We initiated the formation
of the Albanian Spice and Herbal Trade Association (ASHTA), including
all necessary legal and organizational work for its formal implementation.
The ASHTA Board of Directors held regular meetings under our guidance
and support to determine membership fees, the election of a financial
controller, and other initial ASHTA matters. Additional work was
done with the BOD to address membership drives and dues and establishment
of a bank account. We provided training on export promotion, and
held meetings on national branding and quality standards for member
• Assisted in the creation
of the Eastern Africa Fine Coffees Association (EAFCA), headquartered
in Kampala, Uganda.
• Assisted in the creation of a trade association
under the Madagascar Agricultural Export Liberalization Support
FFF Associates has collaborated with the U.S. Forestry Service
to ensure that botanical species are not endangered or degraded
through over exploitation. Currently, FFF Associates is working
in the Balkans with collectors and processors to improve the quality
and marketability of their products.
Recent work in the area of environmental conservation and sustainability
includes the following:
• The U.S. Forest Service
(USFS) in conjunction with FFF Associates, Inc. devised a 6-pronged
program aimed at helping Albania maintain its “biological
diversity and forest health”.
• Devised and implemented cultivation
trials for herbs in Albania.
• Conducted a study of the
major districts in Albania to identify the current status and
habitat of major Albanian aromatic and medicinal plants. Published
a full study of the results and produced a map of the country
highlighting these items.
• Conducted studies and reviews
of endangered and degraded species, as well as existing laws and
regulations related to the environment.
• Published various educational
materials (pamphlets, posters, etc.) aimed at environmental sustainability
• Published a “White
Paper” providing an action plan for addressing environmental
sustainability issues relative to herbs and spices in Albania.
• Designed and carried out
a rapid assessment of “watershed-friendly” small and
medium enterprises in the Panama Canal Watershed. Reviewed existing
resource management, tax, business and export policies to determine
regulatory weakness, loopholes and constraints to viable conservation
enterprise. Made recommendations for policy and program development
including policy review and development workshops, and business
skills and market training for rural entrepreneurs.
• Developed and implemented
the non-timber forest product component to conserve the Sunderban
Reserve Forest (Bangladesh). Worked with local communities and
NGOs to identify key users, needs and conflicts, and opportunities
for cooperation and mutual benefit. Conducted ecological and market
research on priority products.
• Developed training programs
for forestry, NGO and local government staff on non-timber management,
community participation, conservation-based enterprises and market
development. Spearheaded cooperative conservation planning efforts
with the Forest Department, including the development of a realistic
monitoring program (Bangladesh).
• Designed, organized and facilitated
participatory planning workshops for community forest user groups
focusing on non-timber forest product enterprises and sustainable
forestry in Nepal.
• We have worked on environmental
sustainability issues throughout the world, conducting assessments,
developing action plans, designing and implementing workshops,
planning and arranging for study tours as well as designing and
facilitating training programs.