EU envoys visit SPGS beneficiary in Kyankwanzi; commend private sector for championing commercial forestry

Ambassadors of European Union (EU) countries to Uganda commended the Government of Uganda and private investors, for engaging in commercial tree planting to help mitigate climate change and foster sustainable development through income generation. This was during a tour to Global Woods AG Limited’s forest plantation in Kikonda Central Forest Reserve, Kyankwanzi District on 5 November 2018. Global-woods AG is one of over 200 private sector investors that have received financial and technical grants from the Sawlog Production Grant Scheme (SPGS) Project, an EU funded project being implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The EU envoys from Germany, France, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Netherlands and Norway were on a four-day retreat in Hoima District to familiarize themselves with developments in the oil, environment and sustainability sectors in Uganda, where the EU has invested, as part of its support to the Government of Uganda. These investments include the SPGS III project, with funding of USD 17million from the EU, FAO and Government. 

The EU Ambassador to Uganda, Attilio Pacifici, commended companies like Global-woods AG for effectively using the grants to boost their investments and employ more people while adding value to their forest plantation products, such as sawlogs and poles. He also stressed the significance of finding a balance between preserving the natural forests while at the same time investing in commercial tree planting and woodlot establishment to meet the fuel wood and timber needs for both the population as well as industrial use. The ambassadors called for Government to foster the industry through supportive legislative framework that promotes legal trade in timber and other forest products. According to Barnabas Vroegop, the Manager- Harvesting, Processing and Sales at Global-woods, the company has started harvesting timber and in the next three years plans to harvest 420 hectares. This timber will greatly address domestic and export market demand.

Leonidas Hitimana, FAO/SPGS III Project Coordinator noted that the next two years of the Project will focus on implementation of downstream processing, which he described as a critical stage in the sustainability of the forest value chain. Through a matching grant model, the project will support the procurement of semi-permanent sawmills to demonstrate and promote efficient wood processing technologies. Currently, processing technology is very poor and obsolete, resulting into very low recovery. Better processing technology alongside matching skills – will ensure better recoveries and better return on investment.

About Global Woods AG LImited

Global-woods AG Limited is a German-based private company operating in Uganda since 2002 when it received a 50-year tree farming license from the Government of Uganda to establish production forests in the Kikonda Central Forest Reserve in Kyankwanzi District. Currently, the company employs about 600 workers, including contractors and has so far planted about 8 500 hectares (ha) with over nine million trees, mainly of Pine for saw logs, and Eucalyptus for the transmission pole market. The company has been a beneficiary SPGS since 2004, receiving technical and financial support for commercial forest establishment. Global-woods uses a mosaic forestry model for its forest management; planting tracks of single species plantations while at the same time conserving connective parcels of the natural environment. Extremely degraded areas are rehabilitated through planting of Pine or Eucalyptus trees, with about 2 000ha are under conservation, making it the largest privately financed conservation areas in the country.

Friday, February 8, 2019