Tz forest resources generate $2.2bn
DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA – The government week revealed that the combined annual value of the country’s forest goods and services is estimated at $2.2 billion (Tsh.4.84 trillion) which is equivalent to 20.1% of the Gross domestic Product (GDP).
The sector’s contribution to the economy is increasing at a very fast rate due to increasing demand for forest goods and services, macroeconomics changes and globalisation. The sector is estimated to provide about 3 million person-years of employment.
This was revealed by Prof. Ju- manne Maghembe, Tanzania’s Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism at the occasion of official opening of the conference on forest plantation investment organised jointly by the ministry, UONGOZI Institute and FINFUND held at the Regency Hyatt Kilimanjaro hotel.
“According to data released in 2014 by the National Forest Resources Monitoring and Assessment, Tanzania possesses about 48 million hectares of forests and miombo woodlands, of which about 17 million hectares (35%) are managed as National and Local Authority Forest Reserves, including about 4 million hectares of Village Land Forest Reserves,” Maghembe said.
According to him, unfortunately, the remaining 31 million hectares (65%) of forest resources mostly on village and general lands are without legal protection and generally categorized as open access regimes, and it is in this category where various human are taking place leading to widespread deforestation and forest degradation.
He said since the forests and woodlands are under heavy pressure, Tanzania is losing about 100,000 hectares due to deforestation and another 300,000 hectares severely degraded annually; similarly climate change impacts are also contributing to the challenge. Finland remains committed to working in Tanzania’s forestry sector, Finish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Mr. Kai Mykkänen said at the event.
“Our cooperation has lasted for over 40 years, but during the years we have shifted emphasis towards supporting the private sector and value chains, both in plantation forestry and natural forest management and utilisation,’’ he said.
Mykkänen explained that the co-operation between Finland and Tanzania in the forestry sector is unique in its length and content, and that the Tanzanian’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzanian Forest Service (TFS), the Civil Society as well as other forest stakeholders have been Finish long–term partners in sustainable forestry development.
UONGOZI Institute Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Prof. Joseph Semboja said the conference that drew participants from 16 countries had the purpose to deliberate on the challenges and opportunities in the forestry industry, and that the meeting also aimed at discussing how to promote commercial forestry plantation in Tanzania.
“Many private sector representatives have arrived at this conference from all over Africa and the world and they will have enough time to explore business opportunities to invest on long-term,’’ Semboja said.
The Managing Director of the New Forests Company Mr. Julian Ozanne called on the Tanzanian government to improve governance and business climate. “For the forestry industry to prosper in the country, we should have a level playing field,’’ he maintained.
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