Lack of speed boats and inadequate fuel are a big challenge in patrolling Rufiji Delta’s 53,255 hectares of forests currently under rampant overexploitation for timber exported to China and Zanzibar.
“We need support …the four motor boats received from NORAD in 1991 are in dilapidated condition and no longer useful for patrolling in the mangrove forest reserve in Rufiji Delta,” said Mangrove Assistant Manager in Rufiji Delta Sama Kawambwa.
Speaking at Kikale, Mfisini, in Rufiji Delta during an official visit, Kawambwa said: “Just look… the boat is in dilapidated condition, no money to buy new modern boats for patrol in many areas, especially in mangrove forest reserve.
Authorities are trying to control smuggling mangrove forest products that include timber and charcoal as well, said Kawambwa during the recent visit to Rufiji Delta...
Other equipment lacking includes uniforms, gumboots and life jackets. Besides that the captains and the staff operating the boats do not regularly get their allowances, something that is affecting efforts to combat illegal loggers.
“Currently we have two captains and three workers for patrol in the river. They want Sh25,000 per day. Harvesting of mangrove logs and poles will not stop if the ministry will not be serious,” he said.
The patrol need 500 litres of fuel per month, adding that up to Sh90m per year is required in the efforts to tackle illegal loggers, which will also involve educating people on how to conserve the mangrove forests.
So far people in a number of villages have been educated on the importance conservation and beekeeping. The villages are Mchungu, Ruaruke B, Kikale, Mtunda A and Mtnda B, Nyamisati and Mchingamfisini.
Others are Twasalie, Msala, Jaja, Kiechuru, Kiongoroni, Pombwe as well as people living in the Rufiji Delta.