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Kikole village remains blocked to outside world

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Last Friday I visited Kikole village of Kilwa district in Lindi region, one of the richest in terms of natural forest cover and biodiversity. The village which has an area of over 21,000 square kilometers of which approximately two thirds is natural forest cover, made history last year when it became the first in the country to acquire a Forest Stewardship Council certification.

A Mpingo Conservation Project has been going on in this village for close to a decade with focus on checking against illegal logging of hardwood forest some of which like African Blackwood or Ebony is threatened by extinction.

The village which has over 3,900 hectares of unprotected forest cover because under MCP only 450 ha are considered blocked from the outside world by lack of a road. I hired a motorbike from Kilwa Masoko to the village, a distance of slightly above 65 kilometers.

I couldn’t stay in the village for two days as planned because the only source of water available is from Matandu River which is highly contaminated by loggers masquerading in the thick hardwood forests.

From Migeregere village, which is on the main road from Nangurukuru to Liwale district, the road is earth but paved and passable in most sections when not raining. But when you leave the main road at Migeregere to branch into a path heading to Kikole, that’s where real trouble begins.

There is hardly a road here but paths frequently used by villagers and their bicycles and motorbikes. The only sign that there is a road here are protruding concrete culverts which villagers placed over five years ago with support from Tanzania Social Action Trust Fund.

As you traverse the path, you come across depleted natural forests, small farms of sorghum, sim sim, maize and some rice. The soil is heavy black mostly clay with patches of paddy fields. As we strode past the bush, a few villagers walking the 18 kilometer path between the village and Migeregere where the sure means of transport to Nangurukuru are pickups, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles and abnormally, new found power tillers!!

At the village’s warehouse, I saw a consignment of 15 cubic meters of African Blackwood which the village sold to Tanga based Sandali Wood Industries Limited last November after FSC certification. The village earned 400 percent more compared to what it received when the forest under government control.

This is not a poor village, you bet folks, it’s simply not being possible to exploit its full natural potential because of lack of proper infrastructure. The village is waiting for a 30m/- deep well project to be financed by TASAF when the rains stop because drilling trucks cannot reach it currently.

I beg to submit!

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Marjan

    08/07/2010 at 5:06 pm

    Dear Finnigan,

    I’m back at the office in the Netherlands and able to follow your stories now….will comment when appropriate….
    Good luck, Marjan

  2. Timo

    13/07/2010 at 6:37 am

    Hi Finnigan
    Nice to follow your trips in Kilwa
    Timo

  3. Rakesh Rajani

    27/07/2010 at 2:09 pm

    Could infrastructure be a curse? Some say that when the Mkapa Bridge opened, it accelerated indiscriminate deforestation.

    Incredible observations — but left me wondering — what did the people you meet have to say? What are their observations and dilemmas? Same between the men and women?

    Finally, your story begs for photographs — did you take any?

  4. Nuhu S

    19/10/2010 at 10:41 am

    Hey Finnigan!
    Nice to hear yo’r story,I have been there in Kikole village for quite some time, yes the place is isolated and difficult to make a living, but it keep on improving as days go

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