Monday, 12 March 2018
UTGA develops roadmap to pursue FSC Certification
The Uganda Timber Growers Association (UTGA) in collaboration with FSC Africa embarked on the roadmap to meet the Forest Stewardship Council (FSCTM) standard for responsible forestry. UTGA are using the flexibility of the group certification model and starting off with a small pilot group of six members. working towards attaining the certificate by the end of 2018.
“The strategy is to start small, but the aim is to have every UTGA member FSC certified. This is quite achievable and realistic, filled with commitment and optimism of both the forest owners and the prospective group manager (UTGA), we’ll definitely get there sooner, we believe the group certification process allows for the extension of scope by adding new forest management units that meet the certification requirements as we continue” said Peter Mulondo, Programme Officer for UGTA
He added that the group is up to speed to implement forest management activities to fulfil FSC requirements following an in-field technical analysis of forest management activities and a group certification training which FSC Africa facilitated in January 2018
“The training attracted a couple of prospective growers who we hope could be the next in line during the extension of scope including a representative from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The–field technical analysis was aimed at identifying the loopholes and recommend strategies of putting them right in preparation for the main assessment” added Mulondo
The trainees acquired knowledge about general forestry management, the ten principals and criteria of FSC, they were also introduced to the draft FSC National Forest Stewardship Standard (NFSS) for Uganda, which they will be expected to be audited against.
Why FSC certification is important to UTGA
“To start with, FSC certification is hinged on the notion of “responsible forestry management” which emphasizes the establishment and management of forests that are socially beneficial, environmentally appropriate and economically viable” said Mulondo
He added that the FSC certification will provide an opportunity to address outstanding challenges in marketing, value addition and processing and extension of their forest establishments which they may not be able to do on their own when compared with countries with more developed forestry industries, and will also provide a good case in the mobilization of external funding and technical support to tree growers who are committed to responsible forest management and access subsidies like grants from NGOs and government which are the direct answers to the current challenges facing the commercial forestry sector.
“As UTGA, responsible forest management is our core value/belief and we stand to be exemplary in all our forest management practices. We believe that if our forests are managed in a socially, environmentally and economically sound manner, the sky is the limit for our investments,” concluded Mulondo.