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NFA to Revive Collaborative Forest Management

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Under the arrangement, communities sign agreements with NFA to jointly manage forest reserves. The communities are allowed to undertake activities that do not harm the existence of forests. These include tree planting and bee keeping among others.
NFA wants help in maintaining forest reserves

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National Forestry Authority –NFA is reviving Collaborative Forest Management-CFM, an approach started to protect central forest reserves.

CFM was initiated with the aim of establishing forest management partnerships between forest adjacent communities and government agencies mandated to manage forests.

Under the arrangement, communities sign agreements with NFA to jointly manage forest reserves. The communities are allowed to undertake activities that do not harm the existence of forests. These include tree planting and bee keeping among others.

There are seven CFM groups in NFA\'s Kisindi Sector, covering the districts of Hoima and Masindi.  However, the Sector Manager Stewart Maniraguha says the groups have not been successful in the management of forests as planned.

He explains that many of them engaged in depletion of the forest cover through cutting timber and agriculture instead of harnessing the forests. This forced NFA to suspend CFM activities in some areas pending a review of the signed agreements.

Last year NFA suspended activities for Kidoma Community Conservation Development Association (KICCODA) in Kiziranfumbi Sub County, Hoima district after the group members heavily engaged in agriculture and illegal lumbering as opposed to conservation of the forest.

Maniraguha says NFA is investigating claims of money extortion by Kyangwali Twimuke CFM group members promising to allocate forestry land to communities in Wairagaza village.

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Nyansio Byabasaija, the chairperson of Kyangwali Twimuke CFM group admits that his group has not performed well in the sustainable management of the forest. 

Byabasaija however blames this on lack of tangible benefits accruing to members as reward for guarding the forests. He says that often they see trucks of timber ferried from the forest they have jealously guarded.

Rwemera Mazirane, the Kyangwali Sub county LC3 Chairman accuses the CFM groups of working in isolation and neglecting the Sub County leaders, who are signatories on the agreements they sign with NFA.  

Mazirane who owns land adjacent to Bugoma forest reserve in Wairagaza village says exclusion of local leaders in their activities is reason the CFM groups have gone astray in their activities.

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However, Maniraguha says that his office is planning to revive the arrangement, through re-orienting CFM groups on their role and encouraging them to register as community based organizations.

He adds that by so doing, they will receive funding to undertake other income generating activities alongside forestry management.

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