14 Jun

Teak Trees To Boost Ulanga District Economy

Recently, I made an official visit to Ulanga District in Morogoro Region. While there, I saw a lot of developments which made me realise that Tanzania has a lot of potential economic opportunities to make the country rich.

One of the things I appreciated was the vast fertile land most of it covered by a lot of cash crops which made me realise that Ulanga District was a land surrounded by resources enough for me to say Ulanga are potentially rich people but are yet to realise this. The cash crops including rice, maize farms, and sunflower together with teak plantations covering the area make a very good economic base for the Ulanga population. These resources are rare and with a very high market value.

A large portion of land in Ulanga District is planted with Teak trees whose valuable timber is used to make paper, ship, floor plus a variety of furniture.

The planting of teak trees is now getting a new boost from KVTC’s decision to build a modern saw mill to process teak timber. The factory which is in its final stages of construction is being built in Mavimba Village, Minepa Ward, Ulanga District. Mr. Hans Lemm, KVTC Production Manager is positive the factory will start trial runs by end of June 2009 and full commercial production by September 2009.

The Chairman of KVTC Board of Directors Dr. Juma Ngasongwa, MP for Ulanga West, who visited the plant said KVTC is jointly owned by CDC a British company holding 77% shares and FINNFUND from Finland holding 23%. The completion of this Sawmill which is estimated at US $ 8 will be the first if its kind in terms of technology and size in the whole of East and Central Africa. The Chairman further said 60 permanent and 120 casual job opportunities will be created for the local community. He further informed that KVTC project started in 1992 and the following year embarked on teak tree planting in both Kilombero and Ulanga Districts.

The Chairman also said that the Sawmill will add value to the Teak timber products and phase away export of logs. This will eventually eradicate poverty and boost the economic lives of the Ulanga and Kilombero District people. He said villages which will benefit mostly because of their extensive participation in the exercise of teak planting are Namuhanga, Itete and Iragua. He is positive that these villagers will benefit most because of market assurance for their timber products which take about 8 years to mature. The Chairman has called on local community to engage seriously in teak tree planting and exploit the valuable opportunity brought about by KVTC new Sawmill by bringing closer to them a sure market for the teak timber.

This will turn their lives from poverty stricken to rich communities. He challenged them to engage in teak planting since teak take shorter time to mature as compared to other natural tree species like Mvule and Mninga which take about 70 years. He also congratulated the Ulanga District people for their efforts in planting teak trees and he was sure within the few years to come, Ulanga people will be very rich people through teak planting. He asked them to seek technical assistance from teak foresters and look after their plantations properly to ensure high yields.

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