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Improving Business Climate for Planted Forests
The potential for wood production in Mozambique from planted forests has gained attention in recent years. Interest in private wood production increased in the mid-2000’s after the Government of Mozambique (GoMZ) began promoting planted forests, including smallholder plantations. The National Reforestation Strategy (Plano de Acção para o Reflorestamento, 2009) and the Strategic Plan for Agricultural Development (PEDSA) 2010-19 (2010, draft) by the Ministry of Agriculture (Ministério da Agricultura, MINAG) estimated that 7 million hectares of land would be available in central and northern regions. The strategy calls for establishing both community forests and commercial plantations.
Despite these ambitious goals and significant interest from commercial and philanthropic investors, actual investments have been small and sporadic. In total it has been estimated that some 574,000 ha have been allocated for plantation companies, only part of which have been actually planted. Additionally, part of the areas allocated for plantations will need to be used for food production, and community plantation activities. The low level of actual investment demonstrates that despite a generally stable political environment, as well as good growing conditions and good connections to fast growing Asian markets, Mozambique is affected by other factors that have prevented investments.
This PROFOR activity informed the Government of Mozambique about how to develop the planted forests sector and strengthen its development impact. It supported the implementation of MINAG/DNTF strategies and addressed the investment climate challenges at all key dimensions: policy, legal, institutional, infrastructural. The investments and investors covered ranged from smallholders producing wood for local use to large commercial investors. Particular focus was on engaging smallholders in wood production as well as on business partnerships. The focus of the project was national, with fieldwork – done primarily in the Zambezia and Manica provinces.
This study concluded that Mozambique has the potential to develop a profitable and sustainable plantation-based industry, provided action is taken on the key issues identified. Above all, the issues that need to be resolved are land access concerns and also to increase growth and yield and reduce the relatively high operational costs. Very similar issues are holding back investment in plantation forestry in other countries too. It is considered that this study has relevance well beyond Mozambique, as its approach could be replicated in other countries looking to stimulate the development of a sustainable plantation forest sector.
These results have been presented in small-scale workshops to key partners, and informed the policy dialogue for the “Floresta em Pe” reform agenda on forestry, which will set the stage for investment activities under two World Bank projects: Sustainable Landscapes and the Forest Investment Program (FIP).
Last Updated : 07-17-2017