The Government of Tanzania has through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Gatsb... thumbnail 1 summary
The Government of Tanzania has through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Gatsby Charitable Foundation with the aim of assisting small holder tree growers to increase planted areas and improve management of the growing stock. The MoU is for the establishment of the Forestry Development Trust in the country. The proposed Trust is based on extensive research and consultation into the situation of the small tree farmer and will be locally established and managed with a long term mandate and funding structure.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Tanzania Forest Services (TFS), Mr. J. Mgoo said with the increasing level of deforestation in the country which stands at a loss of 400,000 ha of natural forests and woodlands annually, it is high time Tanzania starts to utilize wood from forest farms and not from natural forest. This he said will help to allow degeneration of forests and thus conserve biodiversity.

Mr. Mgoo further said Tanzania has an annual deficit in wood supply for energy and other uses in the country which stands at 22 million cubic meters. Whilst forests provide many products and eco-system services it is wood for energy and wood for construction and furniture that are used by the vast majority of people. How then do we supply this material without further significant loss of natural resources?, a concern expressed by Mr Mgoo. This Trust therefore comes at a precise period when stakeholders are focusing on establishing solutions to the numerous challenges facing the forestry sector in the country.

Speaking during the signing of the MoU, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism Mr. Selestine Gesimba acknowledged the fact that the Trust has given priority to small scale tree growers who will no doubt implement the program efficiently. He applauded the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) for their support in establishing the Trust. Mr. Gesimba went on to add that the program will be implemented in the Southern highlands first since there is particular interest; there are favourable environmental conditions and available land.

It is envisaged that the Trust will enhance access to improved genetic resources, improved skills and knowledge of forest farming and plantation management. Furthermore, the Trust will focus on enhancing business skills, market knowledge and organizational structure of tree growers. Mr. Marshall Elliot from the DFID stated that the Trust has a target of increasing incomes for 36,000 rural households by June 2018. It will also lead to 6000 new jobs in sustainable private forestry in the Southern Highlands.

Mr. Mwaniki Ngibuini who is the Director of the proposed Forestry Development Trust stressed that the success of the Forest Development Trust will depend on the support and engagement of stakeholders in the activities in the Trust. He added that Stakeholder endorsement of the establishment of the Trust and providing facilities, information and feedback will assist the new organization to take root and grow.

The implementation of the Trust is seen to bring better agronomic skills which will lead to increases in productivity and number of hectares farmed, and the number of hectares planted to sustainable private forestry targeting the wood energy sector