Two major barriers to non-timber forest product (NTFP) commercialization are a thin market structure and ensuring long-term supply. There is a growing literature suggesting potential solutions to address these two issues. The majority of these solutions, however, marginalize the role of state institutions in favour of other institutional arrangements. This study used the example of Tricholoma matsutake (S. Ito and S. Imai) Singer commercialisation in South Korea to show that state institutions can play a leading role in addressing the thin market structure and ensuring long-term supply. Specifically, the Korea Forest Service (KFS) and National Forestry Cooperatives Federation (NFCF) addressed the thin market structure through the provision of a supply channel, grading system, price-setting mechanism and guidelines for transportation. In order to help ensure long-term supply, the KFS and NFCF support and undertake forest management activities. This case study shows that state institutions should be seriously considered along with other institutional solutions when tackling barriers to NTFP commercialisation.
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Vol. 16 • No. 1