The Tanzania Forestry Services Agency (TFS) has reported the successful planting of 5.1 million trees over 4,591 hectares within the vast 69,756-hectare Silayo Plantation Forest in Chato District, Geita Region.
The achievement was disclosed by the Silayo Plantation Forest Conservation Officer, Mr. Patrick Mbunghi, during a presentation to the 2023 Uhuru Torch race leaders. Beginning in the financial year 2017/18, after its separation from the Biharamulo-Kahama forest reserve, the Silayo project has provided jobs for 5,220 individuals and distributed 964,000 tree seedlings to local residents.
Alongside this, 118.2m/- was channeled towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects, with the plantation also enhancing the protection of 14 water sources. For the 2022/23 fiscal year, the forest initiative generated 30m/- in government revenue. TFS has future plans in place to plant an impressive 770,000 tree seedlings annually.
The Environment Officer from the Office of the Vice- President, Mr Joseph Nigano emphasized the essential collaboration between the council and TFS through the ‘Nasoma na Mti’ program, aiming to restore environmental balance and biodiversity.
He reiterated the importance of sustainable farming practices, urging Tanzanians to farm at least 60 metres away from water bodies and appealing to authorities for proper enforcement to prevent environmental degradation.
Mr. Abdalla Shaibu Kaim, the leader of the 2023 Uhuru Torch race, also expressed the need for TFS to bolster their management strategies to realize the goals of afforestation and reforestation programs fully.