Deputy minister hails Finland for supporting forest sector

18Nov 2019
Friday Simbaya
The Guardian
Deputy minister hails Finland for supporting forest sector

DEPUTY Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT), Constantine Kanyasu has expressed gratitude to the people of Finland for their support to Tanzania’s forest sector.

Constantine Kanyasu

Speaking here on Thursday last week during the launch of Participatory Plantation Forestry Programme (PFP) Phase II  at Mafinga Town in Mufindi District, Iringa Region.

He said since the 1970s, Finland has been Tanzania’s key partner in implementing sustainable forest management efforts for the benefit of Tanzanians and the world at large.

“I thank the Finnish taxpayers for their support in management of our forests and for ensuring that the sector makes significant contribution to the conservation of environment and the nation as a whole,” Kanyasu said.

He mentioned the a few things that Finnish government have helped Tanzania  in the fields of higher education for our experts; Research; Developing the current Forest Policy, Program and supporting its implementation.

“As I speak, the Finnish government is funding the implementation of our other Forest and Value Chain Development (FORVAC) project, implemented by the Ministry in the ten districts of Tanga, Dodoma, Lindi and Ruvuma. I would like to acknowledge that the Forestry Sector would not be as it is today without the support of the Finnish people,” he said.

He added that the National Forest Policy of 1998, is the among other things, has directed the participation of citizens in planting and managing forests to ensure that the Forestry Industry contributes more to the individual and the nation's overall income.

In addition, the Policy emphasized creating a conducive environment for the private sector and especially small-scale farmers to engage in commercial forestry activities.

As for the implementation of these guidelines, this issue was included in the National Forest Program in 2001. Based on that, in December 2005, the Ministry conducted a study known as Identification of Potential Pilot Areas, Parties and Instruments for Public Private Partnerships in Non-industrial Private and Community Forestry in Tanzania.

This study aimed to identify Regions that are suitable for commercial tree planting activities.

The study revealed that the Southern Highlands, Lake Region, and North are suitable for commercial tree planting activities. These regions are well-watered and citizens are sensitized.

Based on the findings of the study, and considering the value of small tree farmers in providing raw material for our industries, the Ministry decided to develop a Special Commercial Plants Program in which the Southern Highlands region was chosen as the first of these efforts. .

“Today we are gathered here, for the launch of the second phase of our Participatory Plantation Forestry Program. The first phase, which was financed by Finland with a budget of Euro 19.5 million, equivalent to approximately 40bn/-at the time, was between 2014 – 2018, ” he said.

The second phase launched Thursday, will be a four-year period (2019 - 2023) in which the Finnish government has committed a total of 9.5 million Euros (24bn/-).

In this phase, the main emphasis will be on two main areas; First, build capacity of tree farmers, and Secondly to build the capacity of small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.

This will be done through building capacity of stakeholders involved in tree farming, strengthening the capacity of tree farmers groups, building capacity of tree farmers in combating fire events and assisting villages to prepare effective land use plans and increasing the quality of forest products in the value chain.

The deputy minister said also the government has focused its efforts on raising the poor and ultimately eliminating or reducing the poverty of Tanzanians.

He urged all professionals involved in the implementation of these two Programs (PFP 2 and FORVAC) to plan well and work with great expertise in terms of value for money.

In addition,  he directed the Department of Forestry and Bees,      to establish a consistent management system and provide regular reports on its development to the Ministry.

“Once again, I would like to assure you the Finland Ambassador to Tanzania Riita Swan that the Government will ensure these grants for implementing PFP 2 and FORVAC programs will be well managed to deliver the desired results,” Kanyasu said.

On her part, Finland ambassador to Tanzania Riita Swan said since the 1970s, Finland has been a key partner in implementing sustainable forest management efforts for the benefit of Tanzanians and the world at large.

She said she was happy with the implementations done in phase I of Private Forestry Programme (PFP), from 2014-2019 which laid a strong foundation towards the implementation the second phase of PFP.

Swan mentioned some of these achievements PFP phase one include; a total of 12,000 hectares of healthy trees have been planted and owned by 9,030 citizens, tree planting communities have been enabled to develop economic projects for income generation such as modern bean cultivation and avocado farming.

Others are establishing a forest and wood industries training centre in Mafinga. The center provides training to the community according to their needs and up to 8,555 farmers have received training.

59 Villages have been enabled to prepare Land Use Plans and establish eight nursery seedlings to ensure that Tree Farmers get the best seed for the trees.

According to the Private Forestry Programme (PFP) Chief Technical Advisor Michael Hawkes said Tanzania can be self-sufficient in sawn wood, veneer, plywood and utility poles up to 2050.

He said that the significant new investment justified in Eucalyptus plantations for veneer and utility poles, sawn wood production capacity and veneer and plywood production capacity.

PFP is a bilateral development cooperation programme implemented jointly by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) and Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA).

Hawkes stated that the programme’s overall objective is to increase income in the southern highlands of Tanzania by supporting private plantation forestry and strengthening wood-based industries.

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