Private sector’s active engagement crucial inbiodiversity conservation

18Apr 2022
Felister Peter
The Guardian
Private sector’s active engagement crucial inbiodiversity conservation

​​​​​​​TANZANIA Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) policy analyst Victoria Michael has said that private sector engagement in conservation efforts and enhancement of the ecosystem is crucial in promoting businesses as well as making their practices sustainable.

​​​​​​​TANZANIA Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) policy analyst Victoria Michael.

Victoria made the remarks recently when speaking during a virtual biodiversity conservation breakfast debate supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to members of the Journalist’ Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET).

“We have so far conducted training over 190 private companies to educate them on wildlife and environmental conservation. The firms included transporters as we wanted them to be aware of wildlife trafficking,” said Victoria.

Citing example, she said that hotel operators at areas near wildlife corridors, national parks and wildlife protected areas insist on supporting surrounding communities by purchasing their locally made traditional products, suggesting that once the communities make profit through their businesses, they reduce invasion into corridors, thus enhancing biodiversity conservation.

According to her, TPSF has been engaging in supporting conservation efforts at national level as well as influencing formation of some policies in various economic sectors through advocacy and dialogue. TPSF uses the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) to reach its members across the country, she added.

Victoria noted that TPSF works at national, regional, district and ward levels whereas environmental conservation issues are discussed at district/regional business councils.

Dr Elikana Kalumanga, Private Sector Engagement Manager, RTI—a USAID contractor, implementing the Tuhifadhi Maliasili project said the private sector is one of the crucial stakeholders in biodiversity conservation.

He said the private sector can participate in the conservation activities through investment and business, but it is important to ensure their businesses and investments are environmentally sustainable.

“The private sector helps in reducing threats to biodiversity; companies provide support to various projects in communities surrounding the corridors. Villagers are assisted in practicing sustainable agriculture, value addition as well as access to markets,” he stated, suggesting the need for dialogues organized by the private sector to focus on promoting sustainable businesses and investments.

“When executing their activities, companies should make sure the corridors are protected by ensuring water use efficiency and availability of water for the wild animals.”

He said at the Kwakuchinja corridor communities have been assisted to produce products, but linking them with markets would greatly reduce their dependency on the environment as they will reduce hunting activities and charcoal burning.

Acting Director, Chem Chem Association (CCA), Walter Pallangyo said they ensure sustainable conservation in collaboration with the villagers and in that matter Chem Chem has been working in the area since 2016.

It operates in Burunge Wildlife Management Area (BWMA) and protecting the Kwakuchinja wildlife corridor between Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks. It’s important for the survival of Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem (TME).

“As CCA, we’ve been assisting the community in implementing their various activities for purposes of protecting the ecosystem,” Pallangyo said, adding: “We also reward whistleblowers supporting the on-going efforts to end poaching.”

Pallangyo noted that they have been able to create women groups and tailored micro-finance programme—Village Community Banking (VICOBA)whereby people easily get access to loans to expand their businesses, saying such kind of support reduce pressure on natural resources and human encroachment into the conserved areas.

He said the association also provided a school bus that carries children from Vilimavitatu village to Minjingu, noting that previously, children were supposed to walk for about 15 kilometers whereas they were crossing the corridors to and from school. Other challenges include encroachment which blocks the wildlife routes, bushmeat hunting, rapid human population increase, illegal grazing and land conflicts, human-wildlife conflicts (HWC) and biodiversity loss.

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