Privitisation of Tanzania’s forest plantations that are under the management of Forest and Beekeeping Department (FBD) would greatly advance the possibility of the sector contributing to the GDP of the country, an expert has noted.
Veli Juola, Counsellor responsible for Forestry at the Embassy of Finland in Dar es Salaam noted this week that the current performance of the country’s forest plantations under the FBD was low thus raising a big concern to the forests’ sustainability.
Juola said the sorry state of affairs was forcing the sector to consume some of the country’s limited resources that could have been put to good use in other developmental projects.
’At present, forest plantations under the management of FBD are not performing to the expectation and concern with sustained resource availability and quality concern.
Privatising management in this country, as was done elsewhere in the world, will improve the likelihood of the sector to contribute positively to the country’s GDP ,’ he said.
The government of Finland has supported Tanzania for more than 30 years and throughout the relationship, forestry has been one of the three main sectors where the two countries co-operate.
The counsellor also noted that the passing of Tanzania’s Forest Policy in 1998, which has a strong National Forest Programme supporting its implementation, was highly encouraged because of the involvement of the private sector as an important component.
Finland has agreed to support the Tanzania government in this process…The intention of the policy is not to privatise land but only to invite private sector to assist the government of Tanzania with forest management,’ he observed.
For the first time, Tanzania is planning to put the 1,709 hectares of Longuza Teak Plantation located near Muheza in Tanga Region.
The establishment of Longuza Plantation as the first concession in the country is the result of an initiative taken by the Kilombero Valley Teak Company (KVTC), owned by Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) and a Finnish company, Finnfund requesting the Government of Tanzania to be granted concession rights for the plantation.
However, at the time the initiative was taken no guidelines or modalities were in place for the establishment of concession. No inventory was available for valuation purposes, which needed to be prepared before negotiations regarding the concession could start.
The Kilombero Valley Teak Company, the only ISO 14001 accredited forestry company in East Africa, has managed teak plantations in Tanzania since 1912 and has so far established a solid understanding and clear track record of environmental and social responsibility.
During a recent public stakeholders meeting held in Dar es Salaam, communities from Ulanga district and others adjacent to Longuza Teak Plantation, which is managed by the FBD, and other stakeholders supported government’s idea to put Longuza Teak Plantation on concession.
The communities crashed concerns from the Tanzania Foresters Association (TFA) that the process of leading to the concession of Longuza was not transparent saying TFA concerns were not substantive.
They claimed that they had benefited a lot from the Kilombero Valley Teak Company in terms of developmental activities and financial gains.
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