Tanzania to open up $1billion forestry sector
Joel Bendera (in black shirt), the district commissioner of Morogoro, inspects a pile of abandoned logs. Credit: Muhidin Michuzi/IPS
Tanzania is on the verge of formalising a fuel forestry business which is worth more than $1billion with aims of increasing government revenue obtained from forest resources. Tanzania Forestry Service Agency, Principal, Charles Ng’atigwa said the government is focusing on making the business sustainable to the environment.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam last week, he said the whole value chain of the business including charcoal, firewood and timber from its production to the consumption is estimated to reach more than $1billion.
He said 90 percent of people in Tanzania use trees as source of energy and this leads to the shortage of 19,5 million cubic metres for timber usage. “This shortage leads people to start invade all reserve areas searching for charcoal, firewood and timber consumptions,” he said. He noted that the government has earmarked 20 000 hectares at Ruvu farm and 10 000 hectares at Korogwe farm, ready for planting trees and recruiting workers in the field for the new financial year.
“Now we are in the process of preparing a new program that will encourage other public and private institution and stakeholders to donate trees and invest in the business,” he commented
Commenting on a research report presented by Gloria Mapunda titled “willingness to switch from charcoal to alternative energy sources in Dar es Salaam” EFD’s Country Coordinator and Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, from University of Dar es Salaam Dr Razack Lokina, said charcoal is more expensive than other sources of energy in terms of consumption and impacts to the environment.
He indicated concerns on the problem of other alternative source of energy such as natural gas, electricity, as its initial cost of installation becomes an obstacle to the majority lower income earner.
During a Meeting with an economic experts from Sweden, United States and Tanzania during policy day of an EFD eighth annual meeting on October last year, Minister of State Responsible for Environment, Dr Binilith Mahenge, said Tanzania is experiencing huge burden of overconsumption of resources comes from forest as a source of power for daily economic activities in domestic and industrial sector.
He mentioned that Tanzania consumes over 500 000 tons of charcoal annually, which is an outcome of high rate of deforestation and harmful according to environmental conservation campaigns
He said that natural gas will help the government to promote a better way of approaching deforestation problem in our country furthermore, natural gas will boost our productive sector especially manufacturing industries and house burden of overconsumption of fuel and charcoal as source of energy.
Source: East African Business Week (Edited)