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Enhancing Timber Industry: Updates from the 17th Annual General Meeting of UTGA.

The 17th Annual General Meeting was held on 14th March 2024 at Silver Springs Hotel in Bugolobi, Kampala. The overall objective of UTGA is to ensure that the Commercial Forestry Industry in Uganda is profitable, environmentally sound, and sustainable.

The Board chairman, Mr. Oketcho addressed members and provided valuable updates. These updates aim to strengthen the timber industry and empower its stakeholders. Key points discussed:

1. Timber Yard for Drying

UTGA now offers its members access to a dedicated timber yard for drying. This facility will enhance the quality of timber by ensuring proper drying conditions.

2. Value Addition Support

Recognizing the importance of value addition, UTGA has called upon Engineers to assist members in this crucial area. By adding value to timber products, members can maximize their returns and contribute to the sustainable growth of the forestry sector.

3. Cluster Meetings

UTGA will organize cluster meetings twice a year to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing. These gatherings allow members to exchange ideas, address challenges, and explore innovative solutions.

4. Plantation Visits: planned visits to timber plantations in different regions will take place. These visits allow members to gain insights into various aspects, including tree species with short maturity ages, effective planting techniques, and sustainable harvesting practices.

5. Exposure Visit to South Africa and Namibia: In an exciting development, UTGA has arranged a cost-shared exposure visit to South Africa and Namibia. Scheduled between mid-May and early June 2024, this trip aims to broaden members’ horizons. Participants will learn about innovative timber processes, technology, and value-addition methods.

Addressing Timber Export Ban.

Dr. Okello, the Executive Director of the National Forestry Authority (NFA), also addressed UTGA members. His focus was on the critical issue of the export ban on timber products. He highlighted the following points:

1.    Technical Committee: A specialized committee has been formed to analyze the complexities and risks associated with the timber export ban. Their findings will inform future decisions.

2.    Value Addition: Dr. Okello urged the inclusion of portable sawmills in the Sustainable Private Growth Scheme (SPGS). These sawmills can significantly support timber processors and enhance value-added production.

3.    Access to Finance: To finance timber processing and value-addition projects, UTGA members are encouraged to engage with Agricultural Credit Unions and banks. These financial institutions can provide loans tailored to their needs.

Financial Options from EADB

Miss Susan Okao, a representative of the East African Development Bank (EADB), shared financial options available to timber growers:

1.    Green Financing: EADB supports activities such as tourism, aquaculture, and agroforestry through partnerships with Opportunity Bank and Finance Trust Bank.

2.    Loan Interest: UTGA members can access loans at a competitive interest rate of 19% (reducing balance), making it an attractive option for investment.

3.    Eligibility: Loans are accessible based on the capacity to repay and appropriate collateral.

As the timber industry continues to evolve, these initiatives and collaborations promise a brighter future for UTGA members and the entire sector

SEE Impac'ts Program Officer, Ms. Robinah Goretti, (holding files and handbag) was present at the meeting. We are a company dedicated to responsible investment in land through Agroforestry. For timber products, we are promoting the plantation of fast-growing mahogany tree species, Melia Volkensie. You can reach out to us for more information at: or call us at +256 784 286 740.

At SEE Impact, we strongly believe that the protection of centrally reserved forests landscapes and an increased supply of sustainably planted forest products are the "holy grails" of sustainable forest management and climate change adaptation. Let us know your views.

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