Breaking down barriers: Market opportunities for Appalachian forest products in Central America


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Virginia Tech


The research purpose was to determine strengths and weaknesses of Appalachian wood products sales in Central America. In the future, there may be a greater need for international forest products in Central America due to increasing population size, tourism, and deforestation. Potential market opportunities for Appalachian forest product companies in Central America were evaluated and strategies were developed to increase exports from Appalachian wood product companies. Interviews of Central American wood products wholesalers and government and non-government officials were conducted to determine the current situation of the forest, the demand for local wood production, and potential for future production of wood products. A survey of wood products retailers and manufacturers was conducted to determine drivers and barriers of the sale of Appalachian wood products in Central America. Models were developed to describe relationships between company performance and suppliers and a series of independent variables (e.g, supplier promotion, product attributes).

Results suggested that U.S. wood products companies have not put enough effort into marketing forest products in Central America. Central American wood products consumers lack knowledge of Appalachian wood products and their advantages over wood products currently used. Inconsistencies between Appalachian and Central American wood products industries (e.g., dimensions, species terminology) act as a barrier to efficient exchange of wood products. Models suggest that companies may need to focus on barriers to increase company performance. The best market strategies for Appalachian forest products companies to increase sales into Central America are: partner with local wholesalers, offer higher value-added products, maintain similar pricing with competition, and offer sales and product discounts.



Central America, Appalachian forest products, international marketing