The New Forests Company has established itself as East Africa’s largest and most successful sustainable forestry plantation company with operations in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Mozambique. The New Forests Company was founded in 2004 with the vision of creating a sustainable timber resource in East Africa amidst rampant deforestation. As one of the most fertile regions in the world, East Africa should be able to supply its own timber needs and even export rather than importing the majority. NFC is trying to reverse the traditional tale of exporting raw materials and importing value added products in a way that creates regional social, economic and environmental benefits.
After visiting operations in Uganda and Tanzania, 3W extended a $1M USD loan to the company which was repaid in full in 2016. We are now excited to support their foundation through a grant.
NFC has a high level and deeply enshrined commitment to triple bottom line investing, and has a successful community outreach program. In the coming year, 3W will support the Rwanda Outgrower Program. The program has been proven in other countries with exceptional results for both the community and the company:
1. Economic Opportunity for the farmer: On average a farmer can earn $7500 when the trees reach maturity (8-10 years). The trees serve as a “savings account” for the family.
2. Benefits for NFC: The community trees create a buffer zone around the plantation, a core tenant of forestry. Also the program allows the communities to understand, at a very practical level, what the challenges are for the NFC plantation. The community is that much more aligned to the corporate mission and this alignment helps to mitigate risks.
3. Knowledge transfer to the farmer: Farmers benefit from general capacity building through training provided by NFC, for example, the safe and responsible use of pesticides/herbicides and the use of intercropping techniques.
4. Other benefits and impacts:
• Creation of employment
• Opportunities for small and medium enterprises within the community, i.e. furniture production
• Creation of a more environmentally friendly living place