You can watch your money grow by investing in Rwanda’s forests, investors are being told.
The government, in its 7-year strategic plan ((2018 – 2024), strongly believes that investing in trees now will yield profits in the near future.
According to Dismas Bakundukize, the Director of the Forest Management Unit at Rwanda Water and Forest Authority (RWAFA), forestry and related trade can constitute 5 % of the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
“We need joint efforts in managing the forests because they have both environmental and economic benefits,” she said.
“I tell investors that forests have many opportunities for investment since it is sustainable business,” Bakundukize added.
The government is encouraging businesses to produce locally and among the products that Rwanda imports is wood. By efficiently managing the Forests, there is a strong belief that the country can produce its own wood as well as create jobs by adding value to the wood.
The seven-year Forest Sector Strategic Plan in which forest management and value addition are highlighted is part of National forest policy approved in February this year by the cabinet.
Preliminary results from an ongoing study conducted by the Forest and Nature Conservation sub-sector show that over 11,000 jobs were created from forestry activities during the implementation of Rwanda’s economic development footprint (EDPRS 2), that comes to end this year.
Alex Madinga, from The New Forests Company that harvest trees around Nyungwe forest and produces electrical poles says that they have benefited from investing in forestry.
The factory produces 120,000 poles per year and is motivated to support Made-in-Rwanda policy as 45,000 poles are supplied to Rwanda Energy Group (REG) – the utility company.
For sustainability they have planted 150 hectares of forests to supply future raw materials.
“In 2017, we established out-reaching programme where we buy seedlings and give them to interested farmers to plant so as to prepare enough trees in next 10 years,” Madinga added.
The company uses 3600 ha of Nyungwe buffer zone to plant their own trees.
Pierre Claver Hakuzimana, Head of Forestry in SORWATHE, the company that grows and process tea in Rulindo district said that the factory has 515 hectares of forest which they use for tea processing.
“We use three hectares of forest to process one tonne of tea. This requires us to preserve and plant more trees. To keep having trees for use, we do not cut all the tress at once, rather we start from one side and only return after the tree have grown again,” Hakuzimana said.
With sufficient wood, the country is looking to add value and make furniture among other wood-related products that are otherwise imported consequently increasing the trade deficit.