Forestland in Tanzania's Lindi Region added to FSC group certificate to qualify for exporting hardwood to European woodwind instrument manufacturers; additiona of area villages has brought total FSC-certified forest to more than 100,000 hectares

Tanzania , May 2, 2014 () – MORE natural forest land in Lindi Region has been included in an international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to qualify for exporting hardwood timber to European woodwind instrument manufacturers.

International Communications Advisor with Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative (MCDI), Mr Abigail Willis said four more villages joined FSC certification hence qualifying to export hardwood from their villages to Europe.

"We included an additional village - Likawage - to our FSC group certificate in November 2013, adding an additional 17,921 hectares of forest to the scheme and bringing the total area of certified forest from 82,282 ha to 100,203 ha," Ms Willis said.

She said the villages earned a record over 203m/- from selling FSC certified timber of 11 different species and not Mpingo only as was the case with Kikole when it joined FSC in 2009.

"We are helping communities to diversify beyond simply selling Mpingo, thus enhancing their future revenue opportunities and making the process more sustainable in general as their income will not be reliant on a single asset," Willis noted.

The MCDI advisor further noted that to date communities have sold timber of 11 different hardwood species, including Mpingo and that the Initiative has begun investing in marketing to drive timber sales to the level necessary to support our operations in the long term.

"In 2013, we invested in exploring international markets, including a range of sectors, of five non-Blackwood species which are commonly found within Tanzanian and thus represent significant potential revenue earners for forest managers," she pointed out.

Sales rose exponentially throughout 2013/14, when four villages namely Kisangi, Nainokwe, Liwiti and Nanjirinji A sold 620 m3 of FSC certified timber worth $56,012 (over 91.9m/-).

This accounted for 60 per cent more than what the villages generated in 2012/13.

"They sold to seven new buyers who collectively accounted for 37 per cent of the total sales - three buyers each purchased more than USD $3,898 of timber - thereby expanding their future revenue opportunities," Willis revealed.

In 2013/14, $38,173 (over 62.6/-) of the sales were generated from selling FSC Certified non-blackwood timber species which is more than a 290 per cent increase from 2012/13.

Despite there being local demand, in 2012 and 2013, two villages in Rufiji district namely Nyamwage and Tawi which are also included within the FSC group certificate could not sell timber.

"This is because the central government had not yet supplied an official hammer (to stamp felled logs and stumps) for use in community forests, and thus no legal harvesting could take place," she noted.

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