I am Pierre Protas from the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania. I did my MSc research on comparative study of value chain analysis of smallholder and large – scale tree growers in Mufindi District, Tanzania.
Under sponsorship of the WoodCluster project and guidance of my supervisors, we traveled to the field for villages’ selection. In the field, we visited the district office and made connections with the responsible authorities at the district and village levels as well as forest-based institutions. We conducted Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRAs) and Key Informants Interviews (KIIs) in thirteen villages. I selected four villages including Mninga, Matanana, Changarawe and Mwitikilwa. The PRA included tree growers, wood processors, raw pole suppliers, wood products traders and wood products consumers. The KIIs involved village leaders, Tree Growers Associations (TGAs) leaders, and representatives in various forest – based institutions including Sao Hill Forest Plantation, The Green Resources Limited (GRL), Mufindi Paper Mill and Tanganyika Plywood Limited. The selected villages were visited for household surveys. The field research started in the mid of December 2017 until the beginning of March 2018.
In each of the villages, I hired a person to take me around the sampled households. During data collection, most of the households were welcoming and willingly providing information. However, many households had questions on why numerous researchers carried out data collection, but they do not see any results from their researches. As well many respondents were less confident to provide information until they were very sure of my identity. Securing confidence from the respondents is the key to attaining appropriate information, and I promised to share my results with them.
Things to remember
I faced accommodation challenges at Matanana and Mninga villages where I had to sleep in a different village and a distant lodge, respectively. Unpredictable rains were a challenge where I had to stop the interviews and stayed at one place until it stopped. It once rained heavily on me on my way back to the lodge from the interviews in Mninga village, I thank God my questionnaires did not get wet as I had placed them in a plastic bag before putting them in my backpack.
Special thanks to WoodCluster project and my supervisors
I would like to thank the Wood Cluster project for the sponsorship which made my stay in Mufindi and my field research possible, Dr. Leopold Lusambo and Dr. Felister Mombo for their greatest collaboration during the study area selection and preliminary processes through contacting district offices. Finally, thanks to my family, my classmate John Kallabaka and all my colleagues and friends at the Collage of Forestry, Wildlife and Tourism and the Sokoine University of Agriculture as whole.
By Ntiyamagwa Pierre Protas