The government will no longer issue tree harvest permits to applicants who do not have saw machines or wood processing plants, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has said.
Dr Felician Kilahama who is the director of Forestry and Beekeeping in the Ministry said in a statement issued recently in Dar es Salaam that the new arrangement is aimed at reducing the number of seekers and improve services, increase employment and income.
He said last year the Ministry received more than 4,000 applications for tree harvesting at the largest farm located in Iringa, but only 600 managed to get permits.
Under the new arrangement all traders who own plants and saw machines will be required to send their applications from January to April to the 16 farms located in different regions.
He said the government through the Ministry owns the 16 farms with 90,000 hectares planted with different types of trees.
He said a big percentage of the trees in those farms were planted in 1960’s and 1970s and could now be harvested.
However he said under the new arrangement, all villages surrounding the farms will collaborate with officials of the forest agency to discuss best ways of utilising the resources.
Under the 2002 Forest Act, communities are now able to protect, manage and sustainably use the forests on village land for their own long term development needs. Already over 2 million hectares of forests have been transferred to more than 1,000 village governments across the country.
Many of these forests have now recovered under improved management and villagers are now interested to know how they can benefit from them, through sustainable harvesting.