By Sayuni Kimaro, featured in This day, Tuesday 6th October 2009
Planting of teak trees will not force people to abandon their agricultural activities as most of the crops are harvested annually while teak trees have a long lifespan leading to their harvesting.
Kilombero Valley Teak Company General Manager, Riaan Van Wyk, stated this yesterday during a seminar to introduce teak trees, which mainly produce wood as well as poles whose farming is done in Ulanga and Kilombero districts.
In his presentation, Wyk said the company’s mandate is to develop an economically viable and sustainable forestry business with high standards of environmental and social standards. Currently 30 per cent of the total land is planted with teak while the balance of land is managed under different regimes.
He said planting teak trees would have no deforestation impact as comprehensive assessment was done before establishing the plantation. According to him, establishment of plantations in evergreen forests or riparian zones should ensure the buffer zones to water ways are maintained.
Concerning the teak out-grower programme, Wyk mentioned that all areas planted with the trees are continuously inspected and the same standards are applied to KVTC’s own planted areas.
He said the aim is to reach the first harvest after 15 years and generate revenue for small scale teak growers.
“Of the unplanted areas, 50% will be utilised for sustainable harvesting of indigenous species and balance more sensitive areas not utilized for timber. The programme is designed in such a way that if a person cuts a tree, he/she must replace it by planting of to ensure that there are no deforestation worries at all,” he noted.
KVTC Forest Product Manager, Hans Lemm, noted that with regard to climatic changes tat are being witnessed currently they’re well prepared and ready to capitalise on heavy rains.
KVTC’s shareholders include the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) and Finnfund which are members of the EDFI (the association of European Development Finance Institutions), a group of 17 bilateral institutions which provide long term private sector finance for developing economies.