Community forest mobile sawmilling transforming timber market in certified VLFRs

Posted on September, 29 2020

WWF and partner Mpingo Conservation Development Initiative (MCDI) with support from WWF Sweden has facilitated the procurement of a mobile sawmill in efforts to add value to the timber from Village Land Forest Reserves (VLFRs) specifically in Sauti Moja and . This mobile sawmill is expected to transform VLFRs timber markets in the Ruvuma Landscape through selling sawn timber instead of standing trees.
Sautimoja village is among 15 villages with certified VLFRs out of a total of 45 villages participating in CBFM in Ruvuma landscape. This is the first village to use this new machine which was to be officially launched by the Prime Minister in March 2020 but the event was postponed due to COVID-19 The machine is used by the villages in Tunduru and Namtumbo districts in Lindi Region.
The logs processing by community owned portable sawmill in Sautimoja is underway. It is estimated that 70M3 of logs will be processed to produce 2,500 pieces (15M3) of Pterocarpus angolensis sawn timber for Grumeti Reserves Eco-lodge located about 2,000km in the famous Serengeti National Park. The value of this FSC timber is TZS 75M (approx. US$33,000), of which 80% has been paid to the village and 20% will be paid upon delivery.
  • Investing in high-efficiency sawmill is more beneficial for the forests and increases productivity. The recovery rate attained using this high-efficiency type of sawmill is 60% compared to 30% timber recovery rate attained by using traditional technologies and pit sawing. In addition, economic gains are also achieved by increasing the value of timber to a 60% increment compared to normal royalty charged in uncertified forests.
  • Introduction of mobile sawmilling has promoted local employment creation in Sautimoja where at least 76 village members (24 women and 52 men) have participated and benefited from the timber processing in the past four days.
Communities are direct beneficiaries of the revenues from the selling of timber where most of the money is used to improve the communities’ livelihood and social services. In some of the villages the revenue has been used to erected modern village offices, while others have been supporting expectant mothers, building classrooms and teachers’ houses, providing support to secondary students from less fortunate families and improving their health services.
Over five companies and other individual buyers are now purchasing certified timber from VLFRs in the Ruvuma Landscape following effective advocacy on community based forest certification. Price for one cubic meter of timber has increased by 60% from the normal charged royalty from un-certified forests.
This mobile sawmill is expected to be officially launched by the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania.
WWF Tanzania with support from WWF Sweden, UK, Germany and Finland in partnership with Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative (MCDI) is supporting and promoting Community Based Forest management in the Ruvuma Landscape for over 20 years now. The Landscape is endowed with vast miombo woodlands supporting livelihoods of thousands of rural communities.
Mobile Saw mill