The Sawlog Production Grant Scheme, Phase III (SPGS III) is a five-year project which commenced in 2016, to provide financial grants and technical support to commercial tree planters, rural communities, public and private institutions, as a means of promoting investment in commercial tree planting and increasing income of rural populations. The Project recognizes that subsidies are a key driver in attracting private sector investment into forest plantations.


SPGS III targets establishment of close to 32 000 hectares of commercial forest plantations by 2020; 25 000 hectares by private individuals and companies, 4 000 hectares by small holder community groups and 2 500 hectares of fuelwood plantations by government and public institutions. SPGS III targets meeting medium and long term industrial and market demand for sawlog products through establishment of commercial forests and ensuring downstream processing and utilization of forest products. SPGS III is a joint initiative of the Government of Uganda and the European Union, implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

A continuation of the previous phases of the project, (SPGS I and II) under the Ministry of Water and Environment, SPGS III operates in eight clusters countrywide, namely: Albertine, Eastern, Western, Central, Northern, South-Western, West Nile and Karamoja clusters.

The project also supports establishment of bio-energy plantations, with emphasis on increasing gender-sensitive awareness.

The governing body of SPGS III is the Project Steering Committee, with representation from: Ministry of Water and Environment and its Forestry Sector Department, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, National Forestry Authority and the European Union as an Observer.

The SPGS III model

SPGS III is built on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model based on the principle of co-investment by both the beneficiary and the Project. The Project pays the beneficiary a conditional and retrospective grant (subsidy) after the latter has made an initial investment in commercial tree planting. A verification process is carried out to ensure physical establishment of plantations to SPGS’ documented quality standards. The financial grant is supported by an extensive practical training, industry exposure study tours, and other technical inputs. This model was first piloted in 2014 and it has since helped to improve standards of plantations in Uganda, boosted rural incomes and sustained supply of high quality timber products.

Partnerships and funding

SPGS III is funded by the European Union (EU) to a tune of Euro 16million and additional Euro 40 000 from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The Project is implemented in collaboration with key stakeholders involved in commercial forestry, mainly through Letters of Agreement (LoAs). Partners include: the Forestry Sector Support Department (FSSD) of the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), Uganda Timber Growers’ Association (UTGA), National Forestry Authority (NFA), National Forestry Resources Research Institute (NaFORRI), Nyabyeya Forestry College, District Forestry Services (DFS) and Uganda Carbon Bureau. Grant management support is provided by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), a specialized organization of the United Nations with experience in small and large grant management.


The governing body of SPGS III is the Project Steering Committee.