Thursday, 01 April 2021
New FSC certificate holder in East Africa
Nile Fibre Board (NFB), a subsidiary of Nile Plywoods, becomes the newest FSC certificate holder in Uganda, East Africa after taking over Global Woods AG.
NFB now holds the FSC Chain of Custody (COC) and FSC Forest Management certificates upon taking over the management of 12,182ha of Kikonda Forest reserve from Global Woods AG.
The forest reserve is located in Kyankwazi district, Western Uganda and is a catchment for the river Kafu. 80% of the forest reserve is under plantation (pine and eucalyptus), while 20% remains under conservation. It is home to several rare and threatened species such as the African golden cat, leopard, and sitatungas.
According to Muthu Sidao, the Plantation Manager at the Kikonda Forest Reserve, NFB will continue implementing the initiatives Global Woods has been doing in the area.
"Global Woods had two certificates which the new management has decided to maintain. We will continue to follow the FSC guidelines set for us because this is a good operation to improve our product value. We want to maintain and improve the quality aspects."
NFB has a processing plant in Nakasongola district, Central Uganda which produces Melamine Faced Boards (MFB) used in the furniture and construction industry. The boards are sold to clients in Kampala and other parts of Uganda. NFB also exports to other East African countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania.
The company believes that certification comes with many benefits. Branding their products with the FSC logo and conducting their business in a way that respects nature and communities has long-term benefits.
Being new to the forest reserve, NFB wants to maintain a good relationship with the surrounding communities. The forest is located within the cattle corridors,
"We came to a new environment, and many people here are cattle keepers. Sometimes they burn the grass to allow new grass to sprout. These fires can be a hazard to the plantation," Muthu says.
Another challenge that the company faces is charcoal burning. Sometimes people encroach on the plantation and cut down the trees.
Muthu notes that they have established a community outreach program that supports the people living adjacent to the forest with tree seedlings to help set up woodlots. This program will help reduce the pressure exerted on the plantation due to the community's high demand for fuelwood.
The company also trains communities in agroforestry and integrated farming. The initiative supports farmers to get maximum yields from the small pieces of land they own.
Uganda has 40.000 hectares of FSC certified forest and four Forest Management /Chain of custody certificates to date.
Annah Agasha, the coordinator for Eastern Africa confirms that her office will provide the necessary technical support required by NFB to maintain its FSC certification status.