5.4bn/- integrated forest project to benefit 13 villages in Tanga

TANGA: MORE than 58,000 people in 13 villages in four districts of Tanga Region are set to benefit from the three-year 5.4bn/- Integrated Forest and Biomass Energy Solutions for Tanzania (IFBEST) project, implemented by the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG).

The project, which is implemented in collaboration with the Community Forest Conservation Network of Tanzania” (MJUMITA) is funded by the European Development Fund (EDF) through the Ministry of Finance.

Project Manager, Mr Simon Lugazo said that the project aims to reach Gendagenda, Madebe, Kwamsisi and Mkalamo villages in Handeni District.

Other villages are Lusane, Mapanga, Nghobore, Mswaki, Sagasa/Kwa Mbogo and Mkonde in Kilindi District; as well as Mtango, Mseko and Kwakibuyu in Pangani District.

He said the project would address the need for sustainable solutions for charcoal production, saying data showed that charcoal and wood provides 93 per cent of cooking energy.

“The amount of charcoal produced is 1.8 million tonnes per year, which contributes about 44.22 per cent (2.1bn/-) to the forestry department.

Explaining how charcoal can be produced sustainably, Lugazo argued that since 90 per cent of the country’s forests are miombo forests, which have sprouting characteristics when professionally harvested, the project intends to prepare land plans and demarcate the village forest area based on uses.

In addition, the strategy will divide the forest into different management areas/ blocks (water sources, beekeeping, rituals and mining site, he said.

Lugazo also spoke about TFCG’s success in conservation, saying that 133,579 ha have been conserved in 35 villages in the Morogoro Region, in addition to reducing deforestation from 1.31 per cent in 2014 to 0.73 per cent in 2023.

Regarding the community, he noted that statistics show that 35 villages earned 2.09bn/ from December 2019 to November 2023 from sustainable harvesting of forest products.

CEO of TFCG, Mr Charles Meshack emphasised the need to support collaborative management, noting that the experience gained from the implementation of collaborative management of community forests by the two organisations demonstrates that the approach serves as the best concept or resource for reducing the loss of trees on village lands.

“Developing forests on village land through CBFM increases resilience to climate change,” Meshack said.

However, he said this will only be successful if forestry reforms and other laws and regulations continue to be improved.

He pointed out that citizens are important stakeholders in the management and protection of the natural resources.

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