Conservationists in Rwanda and the region were both pleased as well as surprised, when the Government of Rwanda through the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Rwanda Development Board earlier in the week signed a long term agreement with UK based ‘New Forests Company’, represented by their CEO Julian Ozanne.
NFC is no stranger to East Africa, having established itself 5 years ago already in Uganda, where the track record of the company, in a sector otherwise riddled with irregularities and controversies, is totally above board (refer to earlier articles on the woes of the National Forest Authority, forest encroachments and ill considered forest give aways impacting on the substance of forest conservation in Uganda).
The New Forests Company will take charge of the buffer zone immediately following the signing of the long term contract by the Minister for Natural Resources Hon. Stanislas Kamanzi.
The extensive ‘buffer zone’ comprises over 11.000 hectares of land and through re-forestation and targeted harvesting some over 1.000 jobs will be created for Rwandans.
Sections of the buffer zone are presently under tea plantations while other areas are bare of trees and will be re-planted with a mix of seedlings to avoid monocultures and promote the growth of indigenous hardwood trees alongside the commercial types of pine trees which will support, when mature, the growing demand for timber. Conservation policies turned into meaningful action with partners who can and will deliver on the country’s aim and declared objective to reach a 30 percent forest again cover by 2020.