Through its activities, SPGS III Project aims at helping to develop and strengthen the commercial forestry sector in Uganda by subsidizing commercial plantation establishment and providing grantees with relevant technical assistance. The Project envisages a vibrant sector, with a critical mass of quality forest plantations, favorable policy environment, and increased capacity to process forest products such as timber, for a competitive market. SPGS III provides the following support to boosting the commercial forestry sector:
Grants for commercial forest establishment
SPGS III Project provides grants to private individuals and companies with the interest and capability to establish commercial tree plantations. The grants are conditional, retrospective and based on the principle of co-investment, where by payment is made upon satisfactory completion of set operations (planting, pruning, thinning). The Project targets establishment of 25 000 hectares (ha) of new plantations by small (15 – 100 ha), medium (101 – 500ha), and large (501 - 3000ha) scale growers. Each applicant must have a technically sound Forest Management Plan based on SPGS III guidelines, covering operational, social, and environmental aspects. Click here for SPGS III Quality Standards.
Establishment of plantations for wood energy and sawlogs
Wood fuel (firewood and charcoal) is the primary source of energy in Uganda, accounting for 90 percent of the energy consumption. FAO estimates that wood fuel will continue to be the dominant source of energy in Uganda for the foreseeable future, supplying at least 75 percent of total energy consumption. As such, SPGS III Project is supporting planting of woodlots to provide wood fuel, targeting establishment of 2 500ha by private and government institutions. Each wood energy plantation is no less than five hectares and not more than 25ha.
Support to tree establishment by community groups
SPGS III is supporting rural community groups and small holder tree growers who have limited ability to access inputs, particularly planting material (seedlings and cuttings), to establish quality plantations to a maximum on 4 000 hectares. The Project provides seedlings to community groups/associations with a minimum of 20 members and with small land areas of up to four hectares. Each community group receives a maximum of 12 500 seedlings. The groups also receive technical support through practical in-field training and exchange visits to other communities, with whom they share knowledge and experiences. Community members are then expected to plant and maintain the planted trees.
Tree nursery and plantation contractor certification
SPGS III implements a voluntary, private nursery certification program, in which participating tree nurseries and audited and given certification based on compliance with a set of quality standards. These standards include: use of improved seed or hybrid cuttings, production of quality planting material and production practices which are technically, environmentally, economically and socially acceptable. The nursery certification program ensures that tree growers have access to high quality planting material to support healthy and productive plantations. A participating nursery should have the capacity to raise at least 100 000 high quality seedlings in one season and should use seeds obtained from an FAO recommended source. SPSG III also provides technical assistance to nursery operators through the program. By 2017, there were 66 FAO/SPGS III certified commercial nurseries in Uganda. See list of certified nurseries here.Additionally, SPGS III has certified 40 contractors to support tree growers in establishment and management of their plantations. See list of certified contractors here.
Training is critical for developing and strengthening skills of those involved in commercial forestry, so as to ensure quality in forest operations and good return on investment. SPGS III provides a range of comprehensive training courses in modern forestry silviculture, to empower growers, many of whom are new to commercial forestry, to increase their competencies and ably manage their investments. Training is conducted on a cost-sharing basis, where participants meet the costs of accommodation and meals (30 percent) while SPGS III meets the costs for training and materials (70 percent). All courses feature theoretical and practical sessions.
Courses are targeted for: plantation owners/investors, plantation managers and supervisors, forest fire management teams, forest planners, district forestry officers and community groups. The courses offered include: Plantation Planning and Establishment, Teak Silviculture, Chemical Weed Control, Fire Management, Pruning and Thinning, Clonal Nursery Establishment and Management, Weed Control, and Contractor Development. Women are strongly encouraged to apply for the trainings.
Training courses and schedule 2018
SPGS III is a member of the Commercial Forestry Research and Training (COMFORT) Working Group, through which the Project identifies and prioritizes relevant research areas in commercial forestry in Uganda. COMFORT is a platform for discussion, exchange of research ideas and forum to tap into experiences and skills in forestry. Priority research areas identified by COMFORT include: disease and pest management and control, tree nursery development, policy and trade, timber processing skills and technologies and fire management. This prioritization of research needs helps to inform forestry sector actors on critical areas for resources’ allocation. Members of COMFORT include: National Forestry Authority (NFA), National Tree Seed Center (NTSC), Forestry Sector Support Department oM ministry of Water and Environment, National Forests Resources Research Institute (NaFORRI), Uganda Timber Growers’ Association, Makerere University and Nyabyeya Forestry College. The Project also conducts studies on various topics such as: socio-economic impacts of SPGS III and developing commercial forestry management and harvesting plans.
Downstream industrialization of processing and utilization of forest products
SPGS III provides training in form of short courses, seminars, and study tours to companies with reputed processing competence, and promotes use of appropriate technologies for processing of forest products such as timber. To facilitate quality and efficient in downstream processing, SPGS III is developing standards to serve as guidelines for efficient utilization of forest products. These guidelines will help to ensure efficient and quality operations. The Project will also support a matching grant to investors who are desirous of establishing processing facilities. The latter also benefit from procurement of appropriate technology such as processing units and kilns.