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GRA project to restore 1900 ha of natural vegetation in Mara Region

GRA project to restore 1900 ha of natural vegetation in Mara Region

TWO villages in Butiama District will restore about 1,900 hectares of natural vegetation under a new ambitious project being implemented by Global Resources Alliance (GRA) -Tanzania in collaboration with the Belgium based non-profit organisation-WeForest.

GRA-Tanzania and Butiama District Council officials last Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for implementation of the five-year project at Mwikoro and Kigori villages.

Mr Madaraka Nyerere, the Managing Director of GRA-Tanzania, said apart from the restoration of natural vegetation that targets hills, the implementation will see the establishment of alternative source of income generating activities, especially beekeeping in the targeted villages.

“The benefits of this project are conservation of hills. And since we will prevent people from cutting trees…we have come up with alternative source of income, especially beekeeping projects,” said Mr Madaraka, who is also the son of the Tanzanian’s first President, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere shortly after signing the MoU at Butiama District Council Headquarters Nearly 1,000 households are expected to benefit from the project, according to Mr Madaraka.

Speaking at the same occasion, GRA – Project Manager, Mr Calvin Onesmo said the project will help to restore about 19,000 hectares of natural vegetation in an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change in the area.

“In addition to that, the project will involve income generating projects at the household level like beekeeping”, Mr Onesmo said.

Mr Onesmo said, the project further seeks to help the villagers embark on agroforestry farming get customary Certificate of Customary Right of Occupancy (CCRO) citing economic reasons.

In the course, Butiama officially welcomed the project pledging full cooperation with GRA, which is a non-profit making organization that supports sustainable conservation of the environment in Mara region, which is also home to Mara River and the world-famous Serengeti National Park.

“Indeed, this is luck for our two villages and we will have no jokes with implementation supervision,” Butiama District Council Chairman, Mr Peter Wanzagi said.

On her side Butiama District Council Executive Director (DED) Ms Patricia Kabaka said the scheme has come at the right time, when deforestation associated with firewood and charcoal production is threatening environment in rural villages.

“Environment situation in rural villages is not good, thus this project will help to intervene “, Ms Kabaka said. With its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, WeForest has since 2011 been supporting GRA - Tanzania to carry out environmental conservation activities, which include massive trees planting campaigns in the region.

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