By Patrick Kisembo, October 6th 2009
Residents of Kilombero and Ulanga districts in Morogoro have established a sustainable and complementary teak out-grower industry, providing room for a continuous income generation.
This was said on Monday in Dar es Salaam by the Kilombero Valley Teak Company Limited General Manager, Riaan Van Wyk, at a familiarization workshop with editors and senior reporters from various media houses.
He said the company developed a forestry expertise which is made available to the local communities along with seedlings making teak familiar to hundreds of small-scale cultivators.
“We have been distributing seedlings to local communities who in turn now, have started selling plans to us,” said Riaan Van Wyk.
Wyk said the community would soon benefit after the company’s newly established processing plants which started operating in September this year.
“We are so much involved in several social activities including teak out growers and beekeeping programmes to empower the communities surrounding us with economic base for their lives,” he said.
Earlier on, the company’s Corporate Social Manager, Kennedy Haule said previously the company got problems in convincing the local community that they would benefit from the teak project.
“Many of them did not buy the idea, but as days passed, some started adopting and later found themselves better off than others,” said Haule.
He said the company had given out 14,000 teak seedlings to the village communities and individuals for cultivation.
He said the majority of them plant teak on farm boundaries as borders and some few apply mixed farming for the first two to three years of teak growth.
Haule said the company has established strict rules to ensure it works collaboratively with the local community in preservation of the environment.
“We have created social fund with a joint account with nine villages where we work together in establishing schools, dispensaries, classes and infrastructure. We involve the village communities in maintaining and managing these projects,” he said.
Haule said further that villagers in the nine villages are able to control fire outbreak, illegal hunting and invasion of the area by people.