Speaking yesterday during a tour of the project site at Ulaya Mbuyuni village in the district, he said that it was high time the district council emulated and started implementing the project in other villages to reduce deforestation and conserve forests.
He said the project had helped the district in minimizing land conflicts between users through land use plans.
“It is not the task of the DC to come and supervise these villages. You should draw up a plan on how best you will go all the way to implementing this in other villages,” he said.
He however cautioned the project implementers, saying they should work in collaboration with the district forest experts and abide by the laws and regulations of the country.
“The land use plan should not only end up in the villages where this project is being implemented but also should be conducted in other villages to reduce land use conflicts,” he said.
He warned the villagers not to abuse the project by felling trees for firewood and illegal charcoal in the name of the project because that will lead to violating laws and regulations governing forests.
Project manager Charles Leonard explained that for the few years it had been in place, the project had managed to reduce deforestation in the project villages in Kilosa district by 33 per cent. The project had also promoted ecology and good governance including transparency, accountability and participation.
District council chairman Hassan Mkopi said that his council would heed the DC’s directive by extending the project to other areas, especially those with land forest reserves.
“We are taking this directive very seriously. We can’t stand by while we witness deforestation going on in many villages and wards, such as Maguha and Magubike. It is now time for action,” he said.
“The project has helped the district council to provide environmental education and other socio-economic services such as building village offices, rehabilitating classrooms, teachers’ and medical staff houses,” he added.
“In fact, without this project the district government would have incurred all these costs,” he said.
Speaking recently at the 3rd Transforming Tanzania’s Charcoal Sector meeting on biomass energy in Dodoma, Minister for Natural Resource and Tourism Dr. Hamisi Kingwangalla said that between 130,000 and 500,000 hectares of forests were lost annually as a result of different drivers of deforestation such as expansion of agricultural activities, increased population through opening of new settlements, charcoal and firewood, among others.
He said to curb the high rate of deforestation, the new national forest policy, which was under final review, had to ensure that agriculture, charcoal and firewood were taken on board and given required weight in the review process to conserve and protect the forests.
A few years ago, three non-governmental organizations, namely Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), Tanzania Community Forest Conservation Network (MJUMITA) and Tanzania Traditional Energy Development and Environment Organization (TaTEDO) introduced sustainable charcoal production in the district to conserve and protect forests.
It was also intended to deliver sustainable development and benefits to rural communities in the country through enhanced environmental sustainability.
The project is financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).