What you need to know:
- Tanzania said to lose Sh14.94bn annually to timber smugglers while Kenya suffers losses eatimated as Sh180m
The chief executive officer of the Tanzania Forest Service (TFS), Juma Mgoo and Kenya Forest Service (KFS) acting director Emilio Mugo signed the MoU on behalf of their countries
Arusha. Tanzania and Kenya have signed an MOU to combat illegal logging that cost billions of shillings in government revenue.
Tanzania reportedly loses $8.3 million (Sh14.94 billion) annually to timber smugglers while Kenya suffers loses eatimated as $10,000 (Sh180 million).
A 2012 study on illegal timber trade across the borders of the two countries triggered the move to enter a new forest cooperation agreement to improve the effectiveness of measures to tackle the rampant illegal logging and smuggling.
The memorandum was signed by respective forest agencies in Arusha yesterday. The chief executive officer of the Tanzania Forest Service (TFS), Juma Mgoo and Kenya Forest Service (KFS) acting director Emilio Mugo signed the MoU on behalf of their countries.
The study noted that Tanzania’s losses were due to under-valuation of timber and unrecorded volumes that crossed the border into Kenya.
The study established that considerable movement of timber and other forest products was carried out at the border points of Horohoro/Lungalunga, Holili/Taveta and Namanga. The chief executive officer of the Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) Agency, Mr Juma Mgoo, called for the two countries to work closely to arrest the situation.
“This is not something we can take lightly. We must act to reserve the trend,” said Mr Mgoo, adding: “To do otherwise will be a betrayal of our children’s heritage and future generations.”
The WWF country director for Tanzania, Dr Amani Ngusaru, said the huge losses were unacceptable considering that the money was needed to build schools, hospitals and other social amenities.
The agreement is the result of several years’ work by the WWF, the world’s leading conservation organization, and TRAFFIC, the wild plants and animals trade monitoring network, which facilitated exchange visits and organised several meetings. Geofrey Mwanjela, WWF technical programme coordinator for the Coastal East Africa Initiative, said the signing of the MoU would open up more doors for Tanzania to engage regional cooperation in reducing illegal timber trade and improving forestry governance.
“WWF is working with the EAC and SADC to further strengthen the inter-regional cooperation of forestry agencies in Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique and Zanzibar,” he said.