FAO in Tanzania

FAO empowers Tanzania’s youth to improve livelihoods through forest management


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is set to train members of smallholder tree-grower associations in southern Tanzania on tree measurements and data collection. Trainees will be able to inventory their own land, improve their livelihoods, and boost the sustainability of the sector.

Tanzania’s smallholder tree growers own more than 70 percent of the country’s 200,000-550,000 hectares of plantation forests, mainly in the Southern Highlands. These forests are an important source of income for the farmers, and of wood and fuel for the country. However, data on the plantations – including precise land areas, different species grown and management plans – are rarely available.

“Once farmers can carry out their own tree inventories, they will be able to document the asset value of their woods over time, improve planning for current and future market offerings, and bargain for better prices,” said Charles Tulahi, Assistant FAO Country Representative (Programmes).

“At the same time, the inventory will help support their sustainable participation in commercial tree-growing in Tanzania and provide us with valuable information as we work to bridge the gap of national timber supply deficit.”


Cultivating young leadership in Tanzania’s forest sector through South-South exchange

The training, running from 16-17 December in Njombe, will be facilitated by the FAO’s Forest and Farm Facility. It will be led by Kenyan farmers who have themselves already been trained in the same techniques and are leading a similar initiative in Kenya. 

Members of the Matembwe Tree Growers Association (UWAMIMA) and Tanzania Tree Growers Associations Union (TTGAU) will be trained as ‘master trainers’, who will in turn train other local producers on the tree measurements and data collection approach so they can collect the inventory on their own land.

Through the training, the master trainers will understand not only how to conduct a forest inventory, but also the potential of a producers’ inventory of trees on farms to improve their standing in the timber market. The master trainers will also learn how to analyse and use the data collected, how to plan an inventory, and how to train other producers so they are empowered to participate.


Building on results, generating impact in Tanzania’s forest sector

FAO is working to support the forestry sector in Tanzania through various initiatives, including a review of the forestry policy and legislation; supporting implementation of sustainable forest management practices; addressing social protection for the forestry dependent communities: and livelihood support for forestry and farm producer organizations.


The contribution of Tanzania’s forest sector to the economy and climate change mitigation is threatened by mismanagement

Forests in Tanzania’s mainland cover about 48.1 million hectares, equivalent to 55% of total land surface area. The sector’s contribution to the economy is increasing due to rising demand for forest goods and services and macroeconomic changes. 

A NAFORMA report in 2015 indicated an annual rate of deforestation of 372,816 hectares. In 2018, Tanzania’s National Carbon Monitoring Centre (NCMC) estimated an increase of the annual rate of forest loss to 469,420 hectares. This is attributed to population growth, poverty, forest clearing for agriculture, wild fires, persistent reliance on wood fuel for energy, over-exploitation of wood resources and unsustainable land use practices. This forest loss is contributing to the emission of greenhouse gasses, which in turn contribute to climate change.

About the Forest and Farm Facility

The Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) is a partnership between FAO, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and AgriCord. FFF helps forest and farm producer organizations (representing smallholder farmers, rural women's groups, local communities and indigenous peoples' institutions) increase their technical and commercial capacities so that they can fulfill their crucial role in combating climate change and improving food security. The FFF also engages with governments to develop intersectoral mechanisms and policy processes that take into account the contributions of rural people.

Since the launch of its phase I in 2012, FFF has empowered forest and farm producers through their organizations in order to develop climate resilient forest landscapes and improved rural livelihoods. The FFF’s phase II comes at a time of renewed global efforts toward sustainable development, notably the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its goals (SDGs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to fight climate change as part of the Paris Agreement.