Timber harvesting procedures in Tanzania

Timber buyers must undergo the following procedures to legally harvest hardwood logs from Village Land Forest Reserves (VLFRs) in Tanzania:

1. Registration with the District Forest Office

At the outset, prospective timber buyers need to identify from which District(s) in Tanzania they want to harvest hardwood logs; they must then register with the appropriate District Forest Office (DFO). In order to register, timber buyers must present the DFO with their business license, TIN number, and (if relevant) company registration, following which they will be provided with a unique Registration Number. The timber buyer should use the Registration Number to pay an annual registration fee of approximately TSh 261,000/- (although the cost of this varies annually) to the DFO, following which they will be presented with a Registration Certificate.

2. Obtain a quote and Harvest Permit for the timber

The next step is for the timber buyer to obtain a Harvest Permit. In order to do this, the timber buyer must first identify which particular community-managed forest(s) contains adequate stocks of the timber species in which they are interested. The buyer should write a formal letter of application to the appropriate Village Council, detailing the volume(s) of each timber species they are seeking to harvest. In the village, the buyer will need to complete an Application Form and pay an Application Form fee of approx. TSh 60-100,000/- (the price varies between villages) in cash to the Village Council; they will then be offered a quote for the requested timber by the Village Council. (Note: timber is sold per tree, including logs, 70%, and offcuts, 30%. Therefore, timber buyers will be charged for approximately 1.43 times the volume of each log measured.) Upon formal contractual agreement with the forest manager (i.e. the community), the timber buyer will be issued with a Harvest Permit.

3. Initial payment

During the next stage of the agreement, the timber buyer should pay a deposit for the timber, which should be made directly into the account of the village. At MCDI, we recommend that the deposit should be no less than 50% of the total amount agreed for the transaction. Five percent of the payment is also paid as a local government cess by the harvester. Once the timber buyer has presented the village with a pay slip as proof of their transaction, they will be issued with a receipt. The buyer is now ready to start harvesting timber.

4. Harvesting the timber

The timber buyer and their logging team must arrange to enter the community forest to harvest the agreed volume of timber. They will be accompanied by members of the village logging crew who will advise them on which trees are of legally harvestable size (this varies by species); MCDI’s log supervisor and/or a District Forest Officer may also be present to ensure that the harvesting is conducted according to legal requirements. In accordance with Tanzanian law, the timber buyer must arrange for each log to be stamped by a District Forest Officer before they can be transported within the country. This must take place at the location where each tree was felled. Each felled log should be measured at the landing site, the volumes calculated, and log statements maintained

5. Final payment

The final step is for the timber buyer to pay the remaining unsettled balance into the village bank account. They should present the pay slip to the Village Council, who will issue the buyer with a receipt and permission to remove the logs from the forest. Note: the timber buyer must obtain a Transit Pass from the DFO before the logs can be legally transported outside the forest. Upon receipt of the Transit Pass, the timber buyer is legally permitted to transport logs outside the community forest.

MCDI provide logistical and technical support throughout this process by liaising with and mediating sales between forest managers (communities), timber buyers and other stakeholders. Our Services.