A scenario workshop involving national-level stakeholders is a vital research activity within the WoodCluster project that tackles the decision-making level. In this unprecedented year of 2020, we are happy that this activity has been successfully implemented. On November 27th 2020, our project partner in Tanzania, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), conducted the National Scenario Workshop in a hybrid way. This workshop was supposed to take place in March 2020, but had to be postponed due to the pandemic. Unlike in Germany that currently undergoes another lockdown due to the pandemic, there are no such restrictions in Tanzania. Around 30 participants in Tanzania attended the workshop at the SUA campus in Morogoro, while seven other project team members outside of Tanzania attended online.
The National Scenario Workshop aims to discuss current challenges and opportunities of the Tanzanian forestry and wood sector, and the different scenarios where the sector can move forward in the future. Within the framework of the WoodCluster project, this workshop is an integral part of the doctoral thesis of Beatus Temu, a doctoral candidate at the SUA. In his doctoral thesis research, he analyzes the cluster of the wood sector in Tanzania and its contribution to the national economy.
The stakeholders were members of the Director of Forestry and Beekeeping from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzanian Forest Services Agency, Sao Hill Forest Plantation, Tanzania Forest Research Institute, Private Forestry Programme, Forestry Development Trust, and Tanzania Tree Growers Association Union, among others. The workshop was opened with some welcoming words by Prof. Ngaga and Prof. Mombo as the main organizers at SUA, and by Prof. Pretzsch as the Project Head at the TU Dresden.
The workshop began with an overview of the forest sector in Tanzania by Dr. Mwakalukwa from the Directory Forestry and Beekeeping, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. Various stakeholders from the Private Forestry Programme, Tanzania Forestry Services Agency, Forestry Development Trust, and SUA enriched the workshop with presentations and discussions about “production and processing” and “policy and context”. In the latter session, Prof. Pretzsch contributed with a keynote on linking forest policies to the local realities. Beatus Temu presented the forest sector contribution to national economy and elaborated the indicators and scenario factors. Hereby, three scenarios were taken into account: business-as-usual, increasing supply of wood, and decreasing demand of wood. The participants at the workshop in SUA were grouped into three teams accordingly to discuss about each scenario in detail. In the closing plenary, each group presented the elements of the scenarios, e.g. short- and long-term strategies, and all participants discussed with a round of questions and answers.
To summarize the discussion, Tanzania is challenged with deforestation and an increasing wood supply gap of about 19m3 per year (NAFORMA 2015). The market dynamics show an increasing trend in the demand of higher quality wood products. Nonetheless, forestry contributes to about 3% of Tanzania’s GDP. In the long-term, a reduction of deforestation rate while closing the wood supply gap and increasing the contribution of forestry to the GDP is desired. In essence, smallholder tree growers play an increasing role to contribute in closing the national wood supply gap in order to relieve the burden on natural forest. There is a need to improve farmers’ silvicultural skills and the efficiency of mobile sawmills in rural areas. An inefficiency in wood production and value chain system was also addressed. This puts forward the opportunities to cluster similar actors in concentrated geographical areas as well as to review the tax systems in forestry-related products.
On behalf of the WoodCluster project team in Germany, we extend our appreciation to Prof. Felister Mombo, Prof. Yonika Ngaga, and Beatus Temu for the excellent organization and execution of the workshop. We also thank the stakeholders for taking their time to engage in fruitful discussions. We hope that this stakeholder dialogue contributes to strengthen efforts to work together for a sustainable wood sector in Tanzania. Last but not least, gratitude goes to the SUA team members involved in organizing the moderation, ICT technicalities, catering, documentation, and contributing to the success of the event.
By Kendisha S. Hintz & Maxi Domke
NAFORMA (2015). National Forest Resources Monitoring and Assessment of Tanzania Mainland: Main Results. Dodoma: Ministry of National Resources and Tourism – Tanzania Forest Services Agency. http://www.fao.org/forestry/43612-09cf2f02c20b55c1c00569e679197dcde.pdf