Tanzania seeks Sh600 billion to combat charcoal trade

Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) executive director Mr Charles Meshack speaks at the meeting on "Conservation forests through sustainable, forest-based enterprise assistance in Tanzania (Coforest) initiative." PHOTO | COURTESY

Summary

  • Tanzania is still losing over 640,429 hectares per year due to human activities, with unsustainable farming such as shifting cultivation having been the major threat to the forests in Tanzania.

Dar es Salaam. The government is seeking Sh600 billion for the adoption of clean energy and sustainable charcoal production over the next 10 years in an effort to tackle the illegal charcoal trade.

Mr James Nshare, a forest expert with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism’s Forestry and Beekeeping Division, told The Citizen that both domestic and foreign companies should come and invest in energy solutions and the forest industry.

“People should invest in energy solutions because the country still has a potential area of about 6 million hectares for Participatory Forest management (PFM) and 4.3 million hectares for community-based forest management (CBFM),” he said.

He spoke at a meeting titled “Conserving forests through sustainable, forest-based enterprise assistance in Tanzania (Coforest) initiative,” which is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Various parties attended the meeting with the theme of leveraging investments and financing to promote CBFM in Tanzania.

He said that they created the National Charcoal Strategies and Action Plan of 2021–203, which is currently being reviewed by each ministry.

The strategy’s major emphasis will be on clean cooking technologies and alternative cooking energy sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy in an effort to lessen reliance on biomass charcoal and fuelwood from natural forests.

Despite having a larger amount of forest than most nations in east and central Africa, Mr Nshare “pointed out that the country is still losing over 640,429 hectares per year due to human activities, with unsustainable farming such as shifting cultivation having been the major threat to the forests in Tanzania.”

According to him, approximately 85 percent of Tanzanian households rely on charcoal and fuelwood for domestic cooking. This percentage is comparable to that of other nearby nations like Kenya (70 percent) and Uganda (93 percent).

The Swiss Embassy in Tanzania’s program officer for employment and income, Ms Clara Melchior, said collaborative efforts with various ministries were needed to expand CBFM coverage in accordance with the action plan.

The Swiss Embassy in Tanzania’s program officer for employment and income, Ms Clara Melchior. PHOTO | COURTESY

According to her, by collaborating with Sokoine University (SUA), they conducted a survey, and the results showed that CBFM are vital for the development of the country in terms of clean energy. “We need to address policy barriers arising from frameworks such as the GN 417 in order to achieve the goals set in the CBFM Action Plan,” she said.

Mr. Charles Meshack, executive director of Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), stated that it is critical to understand why the country has lost its forests in order to devise appropriate interventions.