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FAO and EU Launch Euro 15 Million Project to Transform Uganda's Forestry Sector

FAO-EU initiative represents a significant step towards fostering a sustainable wood-based value chain in Uganda.

Shivam Dwivedi
FAO and EU Launch Euro 15 Million Project to Transform Uganda's Forestry Sector (Photo Source: FAO)
FAO and EU Launch Euro 15 Million Project to Transform Uganda's Forestry Sector (Photo Source: FAO)

To improve Uganda's forestry sector and promote sustainable practices, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has embarked on a groundbreaking project funded by the European Union (EU) with an investment of 15 million euros ($16.29 million). The initiative, titled Sustainable Wood-Based Value Chains in Uganda, spans over five years and aims to enhance the sector's contribution to both the economy and the environment.

Addressing Uganda's Forestry Challenges 

Uganda's forests face mounting threats from encroachment, deforestation, illegal logging, and forest degradation. The project seeks to reverse this trend by ensuring a sustainable supply of legal wood raw materials from planted forests, bolstering processing capabilities, and expanding market demand for wood products. Additionally, improving access to affordable finance is a critical component of the initiative.

EU Ambassador to Uganda, Jan Sadek, underscored the EU's commitment to advancing Uganda's commercial forestry industry. Through collaborative efforts under the Team Europe Forestry Partnership, the EU aims to foster a robust and sustainable sector that benefits both the environment and the economy.

FAO Representative in Uganda, Antonio Querido, emphasized the initiative's goal of unleashing Uganda's forest resources' potential for inclusive economic growth and addressing global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss. The project will focus on promoting best practices, efficient processing facilities, and women's economic empowerment.

Economies of Scale and Financial Access

A key objective is to achieve economies of scale by aggregating smallholder tree farmers and wood processors. Access to affordable finance for small and medium enterprises in the wood sector will be facilitated through financial literacy programs, business advisory support, and improved connections with the financial sector.

Alfred Okot Okidi, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water and Environment, highlighted the project's alignment with Uganda's National Development Agenda for the forestry sector. The collaboration aims to enhance value addition, reduce environmental degradation, combat climate change, and promote sustainable economic growth and livelihood security.

Efforts to combat the illegal timber trade are crucial for curbing deforestation and ensuring sustainable economic growth. By promoting sustainable practices and value addition, the initiative aims to absorb increased wood supply, generate employment, and incentivize legal and sustainable forestry practices.

With substantial investments from the EU, FAO, and other partners over the past two decades, Uganda's forest sector is poised for substantial growth. Upgrading value chains will be pivotal in accommodating the anticipated supply increase, creating employment opportunities, and driving sustainable practices.

FAO's Forestry division, which oversees over 200 projects in 80 countries, plays a crucial role in global initiatives such as Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable World (SW4SW), emphasizing the importance of sustainable forestry practices worldwide.

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