The beautiful landscape of Kilolo District is blessed by cold weather and rich soil supporting tree growing business, however, and for many years the key challenge has been the ‘waiting time’. From planting to harvesting and sales of a mature tree one needs to wait for at least 15 years to enjoy the fruits – that’s too much! While waiting for more than a decade, local communities in Idegenda Village, one of the villages in Kilolo District, engages in various on farm and off farm activities to generate income. Of the off-farm activities, the Uzungwa Scrap Nature Reserve just at their vicinity has always been the victim – victimized for tree cutting (timber and poles) and other income generating activities resulting into forest.
To address the problem, EAMCEF through a participatory approach interrupted the ‘waiting time’ by introducing fast growing pine trees (7 years) that would act as alternative sources of income to save forests from destruction. Apart from planting, villagers raise and sell tree seedlings.
I planted 3600 trees on a 6 – acre farm during 2013. In 2-3 years from now I can happily expect TZS. 60,000,000 from selling matured trees. I am so much impressed by this project, I have already generated TZS. 35,000,000 from selling tree seedlings. I used part of the income to build a commercial house from which I earn TZS. 140,000 per month. I use this income to cover all my household needs, but also built a modern house like those you see in the city centre. In the past we could see fires burning in the forest, up to two times a week, but now it is not the case anymore as villagers are busy with their trees.
I have been growing trees for the past 30 years but was so surprised to hear from EAMCEF that there are fast growing species. Without any delay, I started growing and selling seedlings – made up to TZS. 20,000,000 for three years, and later I planted 20 acres on my own farm. I used part of the income from selling of seedlings to build a modern house in Iringa Town thereby saving money which I andmy family and relatives would have incurred for living in hotels and guest houses. Money from sales of tree seedlings rescued my relationship with my wife…every time we wanted to have privacy we were forced to go somewhere away from home since our house was too small, and with kids… you can imagine how hard it is to enjoy with my wife! sometimes, until midnight.
The tree planting project has helped the school solve long-standing challenges, especially relating to services offered to pupils. Income from sales of seedlings was used to build a large kitchen, cooking and serving equipment/utensils etc., but of most important the school installed a solar panel to help pupils who are waiting for their standard seven exams get extra study hours during the night. Teachers believe that it is this solar panel that has contributed to good performance of pupils – from 60.3% pass (in 2016) to 68.9% pass in 2017”, narrates Ponziano Lung’ali (Environmental Teacher, Mbawi Primary School, Kilolo District)
Income from sales of seedlings was used to build a large kitchen, cooking and serving equipment/ utensils etc.
Mbawi Primary School, Kilolo District