FCG supports the increase of economic, social and environmental benefits from forests and woodlands in Tanzania

Tanzania has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world and is losing hundreds of thousand hectares of forests annually, largely due to charcoal production, used as the main source of energy in kitchens in urban and rural areas. Finland and Tanzania have jointly agreed on forest sector cooperation. This includes support to tree planting (plantations), protecting the natural forests in order to ensure natural diversity, preventing illegal logging and promoting sustainable use of natural forests and woodlands to stop the destruction of forests in Tanzania. These actions are even more important now due to severe effects of climate change.

A specific programme to promote sustainable value chains in natural forests and woodlands, whilst tackling deforestation, was commenced four years ago (2018) via FORVAC (the Forestry and Value Chains Development programme), funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and implemented by FCG Finnish Consulting Group under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism of Tanzania.

On the grounds of the good results of FORVAC, a two-year extension started in July 2022. The whole programme funding will be more than 14 million Euros. FORVAC field work in Tanzania is focused on the southern and eastern parts of the country in Tanga, Lindi and Ruvuma clusters, however capacity building and policy development work is implemented as well at regional and central levels in the country. Working closely with local enterprises and communities, FORVAC develops forest-based value chains inducing growth in local economies, while at the same time fostering local ownership of forests and facilitating community-based forest management (CBFM). FORVAC also supports government institutions in developing their legal and policy framework to improve forest governance and promote sustainable forest resources management.

Boards sawn of wood produced in a sustainably managed village-owned forest. Photo: Nette Korhonen

FORVAC works with individuals and families, communities, traders and private companies to increase economic, social and environmental benefits from forests and woodlands for around 330,000 beneficiaries. The work is done by establishing Village Land Forest Reserves (VLFR) and working with the local communities to develop the forest related value chains of timber and non-timber forest products, like honey, mushrooms, bamboo or wild fruits. This support is addressed to producer groups within target villages, as well as encouraging responsible private sector involvement in any parts of these value chains. If communities are expected to protect and sustainably manage their forests, they need skills and marketing links to earn incomes without needing to resort to clear felling.

The stakeholder capacity at community level is enhanced by, for example, supporting forest management and processing technical skills and financial capacity building, and timber harvest sales and marketing. At district/national levels, FORVAC builds capacities on participatory forest management, laws and regulations related to value chains, and organises exchange visits to show successful interventions in CBFM and value chains. FORVAC also cooperates with educational institutes by supporting the formulation of value chain development related modules. Other areas of support include the enhancement of information management and public awareness on forest policy implementation, and the establishment of relevant databases on legal, forest resource, raw material, market information and pricing of products. In addition, FORVAC supports an improved policy and regulatory framework for forest value chain development and the development of forest law enforcement, forest governance and trade of legally sourced timber.

Nette Korhonen, FORVAC M&E and communication expert: “The village-level small-scale producers have limited skills and capacity to market their products. FORVAC started work by focusing more on improving the production, but now the emphasis has moved onto marketing. The Programme has supported 37 villages to sustainably harvest their village-owned forests, and to find buyers/customers for this timber. The Programme has also supported the development of a database and website that introduces all known and tested Miombo timber species (around 80). The Programme supports the development of a market information system that will help to connect rural communities with timber buyers/customers, to be taken into use in the coming months”.

More about FORVAC practical work, videos and successes in Programme website: