Hon. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete

cssh Kikwete

Hon. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, the retired President of united Republic of Tanzania (in the right) visited Timber Rush post at Nanenane exhibition in Morogoro on 4. 8. 2019. In the left is Dr. Suzana Nyanda the exhibitor in charge giving explanations and elaborations to Hon Kikwete on Timber Rush project and other projects under the College of Social Science and Humanities

ECHOES FROM SEMINAR HELD AT DIIS ON TIMBER RUSH IN THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS OF TANZANIA

 Mahongec Timberrush

Since the early 2000s the non-industrial private forestry (NIPF) investments have emerged as important sources of livelihoods to investors in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania following what has been dubbed as the “timber rush”.  The NIPF has been a subject of interest under the Timber Rush Project, which generally centres on contributing to a more equitable distribution of benefits from private plantations on village land through evidence-based policy making. Specifically, the project aims at investigating:

  • The scale and drivers of the current investments in the timber rush
  • The impact of investments in land for timber production on local people’s access to and benefits from land and other resources in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.

Since 2016 researchers from Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania and Danish Institute for International Studies and University of Copenhagen in Denmark under the Timber Rush project embarked on fieldwork to address the objectives of the project. Thus, an open seminar organized by the Danish Institute for International Studies on June 4, 2019 at DIIS Conference Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark was meant to share some results with researchers and the general public.

Some of the key messages coming out of the live-streamed presentations include the fact that NIPF has led to the emergency of money economy in rural areas with attendant pros and cons. On the positive side, people investing in NIPF in both rural areas and emerging urban centres have recorded improved livelihoods by building improved housing, paying school fees, meeting medical costs and other basic household needs.

However, the negative side effects of this development is the fact that we are beginning to see the growth of landless people as a result of selling of own land, and consequently an increase in labour markets particularly casual labourers in rural areas. Besides, as a result of responsibilization government role in the governance of NIPF is limited. Instead, NGOs (e.g. Forest Development Trust) and donor funded programmes (e.g. Private Forestry Programme) as well as village level institutions including village governments and tree growers’ associations (TGAs) have assumed greater role in promoting the use of genetically improved tree seeds and management of wildfires, among others. Similarly, there has been limited support from the government regarding delivery of extension services to smallholder tree growers in the study areas. As a result, extension service delivery is mainly provided through donor support by Private Forestry Programme or Panda Miti Kibiashara and Tanzania Forestry Development Trust. Moreover, common lands are disappearing as more land is converted to planted forests while the increased pace at which arable land is being converted to planted forest pose a threat to household food security. Land related conflicts are on the increase. Resolution of conflicts is done using a variety of arrangements starting from the clan level through regional to national levels. It would seem that women and other disadvantaged social groups are being more vulnerable to the existing conflict resolution arrangements that are costly and thus unable to meet them.

Recommendations

Government should support strengthening of village-level institutions so that they are able to enforce by-laws for management of wildfires. Also, there is need for Local Government Authorities to provide subsidy to tree growers to enable them use genetically improved tree seeds whose cost is high using funds from revenues obtained through levy imposed on timber sales. 

 

Timber Rush Project Annual Conference held in VETA, Iringa Region on 6th December 2018

Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) through College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH) collaboratively with Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) and University of Copenhagen from Denmark are implementing a research project titled Timber Rush: Private Forestry in Village Land since February 2016. On 6th December 2018, the project organized its second Annual Conference, which was held in Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) Conference Hall located in Iringa Region.

Timberrush annual conference december 2018

Discussion session during the Annual Conference held in Iringa at VETA Conference Hall (December 6, 2018)

The aim of this conference was to share research results from the project in order to get comments and constructive criticisms from stakeholders. The stakeholders that participated to this conference comprised of the following:(i) technical staff on land and forestry disciplines from Southern Highland districts of Njombe, Mafinga, Wanging’ombe, Kilolo and Mufindi, and Njombe Town; (ii) a representative from Forest Development Trust (FDT) which is a non-governmental Organization; and (iii) researchers from Sokoine University of Agriculture specialized on forestry, social sciences, and agricultural extension and community development disciplines. Participants from the project team entailed researchers from Sokoine University of Agriculture and those from Danish Institute for International Studies

A PhD candidate Mr. Respikius Martin making a clarification on his presentation

A PhD candidate (Mr. Respikius Martin) making a clarification on his presentation (Governance structure and distribution of income among actors of timber value chain in Southern Highlands of Tanzania) during the Annual Conference held in December 6, 2018 at VETA Conference Hall, Iringa

During this conference a total of six draft papers were presented as listed below:

  1. Profitability analysis of tree growing in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania
  2. Domestic investors in tree planting: Typology, motives and relationships with local communities in Southern Highlands of Tanzania
  3. Governance structure and distribution of income among actors of timber value chain in Southern Highlands of Tanzania
  4. Does non industrial private forestry affect household food security? Empirical evidence from Southern Highlands of Tanzania
  5. Origin, nature and resolution of land conflicts: experience of non industrial private forestry in village land in Southern Highlands, Tanzania
  6. Scale and drivers of timber rush in Tanzania

Prof. Mahonge C. P. jotting down some notes

Prof. Mahonge, C. P. jotting down some notes during the Question and Answer Session after his presentation (Origin, nature and resolution of land conflicts: Experience of Non-industrial private forestry in village land in Southern Highlands, Tanzania) at the Annual Conference in Iringa (December 6, 2018)

The conference was also served as a platform for providing feedback to the government staff from project area, validating the results, and correcting errors so as consequently to enhance the relevance of the results. It was also an avenue for sharing critical but constructive comments from invited members of Academia, Non-governmental Organization, and Local Government Authorities to improve the manuscripts/draft papers ready for publication in esteemed journals.

Mr. Libenanga P. Forest Officer in Njombe District Council among the Project stakeholders making some inputs

Mr. Libenanga, P. (Forest Officer in Njombe District Council) among the Project stakeholders making some contributions to one of the presentations during the Annual Conference, which was held in Iringa Region (December 6, 2018)