TFS steps up efforts to protect forest resources

AT least 99 per cent of Tanzania Forest Services Agency (TFS) staff have completed the mandatory paramilitary system at the country’s western district of Mlele in Katavi Region.

This comes as the government agency charged with the management of forests and bee keeping resources is embarking on the second phase of a specialised training for its officers.

TFS Conservation Commissioner Professor Dos Santos Silayo disclosed here on Wednesday that the conservation agency remains committed to expose its staff to paramilitary training, with a view of improving efficiency towards protection of forest resources.

“A good number of officers have been put through their paces but we are also planning to embark on a second phase of specialised training,” revealed Prof Silayo, shortly before the closure of a 10-day specialised training to 47 heads of departments, plantations, beekeeping reserves, forests and zonal heads.

The specialised training, according to the TFS Conservation Commissioner will equip the officers with adequate skills and knowledge of managing 463 reserves under the conservation agency’s watch.

“We have, for years been grappling with a raft of challenges, ranging to illegal harvest of logs to unfortunate deaths of our officers in the line of duty, it is my hope that such training will greatly resolve such setbacks,” he said.

Prof Silayo further disclosed that the conservation agency was mulling over plans of equipping its officers with firearms in the quest of protecting forest resources.

Bringing down the curtain on the specialised training, TFS Advisory Board Chairperson Brigadier General Mbaraka Mkeremy challenged the officers to exhibit patriotism while discharging their duties.

The military senior officer who once served as an Aide-De-Camp(ADC) to former President the late John Magufuli, described patriotism as a prerequisite virtue in protecting Tanzania’s natural resources.

“Military might is nothing devoid of patriotism,” he counselled.

The specialised training saw the 47 officers being taught on military leadership, protocols, etiquettes and parades.

So far, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) and Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) are the conservation agencies that have since embraced the paramilitary system.

The departure from civilian to paramilitary system by the conservation agencies not only seeks to protect natural resources, but also to instil discipline in the institutions, which fall under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

Launching the paramilitary unit at Fort Ikoma, in November 2018, President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who was then the Vice-President, expressed her optimism that combating of poaching would boost tourism sector by attracting more visitors.

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