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Kilwa District

Our conservation work is centred in Kilwa District, south-eastern Tanzania, where some of the greatest remaining stocks of mpingo are to be found, and also some of the highest rates of logging.


Kilwa District (8°15’-10°00’S, 38°40’-39°40’E) is the most northerly district in the Lindi Region of southern Tanzania. To the east is the Indian Ocean, and to the west is the Selous Game Reserve. The District has an area of 13,920km², which is divided into two parliamentary constituencies and 93 villages.

Most of the district is well-drained sedimentary sandstone of low fertility and with low moisture-holding capacity. Three of the four main rivers of the Lindi Region, namely the Matandu, Mbwemkuru and Mavuji Rivers, eastwards run through the district into the Indian Ocean.





Farmers rely on traditional tools and methods; for example fields are cultivated by hand using hoes and irrigation and agricultural chemicals are very seldom used. The average farm size is 2 hectares. Typically the farm family consumes most of the harvest and a small surplus is sold. Modest annual increases in food production attained in recent years are insufficient to keep up with the District's increasing population. The main crops grown for local consumption are cassava, maize, sorghum and rice. Black cotton soil around Makangaga, Liwiti, Matandu, and Mbwemkuru are particularly fertile and give high rice yields. Upland rice is grown in the drier hilly areas around Chumo and Kipatimu in the north of the district. Sesame is grown in small fields as a cash crop for export, especially around Nanjirinji. In Kipatimu Division, which includes part of the Matumbi Hills, there has been commercial tree crop production for many years. Oranges and coconuts are the main species grown in the valley bottoms here. Elsewhere in the District, most notably around Likawage, Nanjirinji, Nainokwe, Njinjo and Singino Hill, there are small, low-yielding, family-owned cashew plantations. Apart from free-range chickens for household consumption, few farm families keep animals. The abundance of trypanosomiasis-spreading tsetse flies in the west of the District restricts rearing of cattle and goats.

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