Of 724,645 ha, the total area of forests making 30% of the total area of Rwanda (RDHS 2015), 53.5% were planted and they belong to private owners or to the government. However, 68% of them are poorly managed due to overexploitation and other reasons, which sees one owner yield 17m3/ ha on an area where they could get 60-80m3/ha.
The numbers were highlighted by Eng. Jackson NDERA, the Forest Expert and Project Coordinator at Action pour la Protection de l’Environnement et la Promotion des Filieres Agricoles (APEFA) today March 14, 2022 at a meeting that brought local leaders in Gisagara District with APEFA staff.
APEFA implements the project “Community capacity building in the areas of livelihood and agroforestry for forest landscape restoration in the Mayaga Region’’ aligned with Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) Green Amayaga Project implemented by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA).
Green Amayaga intervention areas are four Districts of Southern Province; Gisagara, Nyanza, Ruhango and Kamonyi.
The Sector Forest Officers, Cells Social Economic Development Officers (SEDOs) and Village leaders from Gisagara District sectors where APEFA implements the project met with APEFA staff who discussed with them how private forests owners could reap bigger from them.
Speaking to the participants, Eng. NDERA said that one way to achieve this is to help forest owners join cooperatives which would help get information on adequate forest management, right prices of forest products, support from government entities and other donors among many other benefits.
The participants pledged to go to their respective areas of duty and sensitize forest owners to join cooperatives and manage better their private forest lands which would also see the nation benefit in improved food security, erosion control, job creation and climate change mitigation.