In countries like South where the commercial forestry industry is well developed, forest owners have almost completely shifted from direct labour management to make use of forestry contractors to carry out almost all silvicultural and harvesting operations in their plantations. Forest owners outsource production to contractors in order to, save on cost of capital equipment and fixed costs associated with full-time employees, and to avoid all challenges associated with dir3ct labour management. From studies carried out in South Africa, contracting out forestry operations resulted in significant cost savings , for example, in 1997, silviculture contractors’ rates ranged between R30 and R46 per “person day”, whilst those of the company were R63.91 (Swaine,1998). These and other figures suggest production savings between 40% and 60%.
As part of the all year round practical training courses, SPGS successfully ran a forest contractor training course at Hoima Resort Hotel from 22nd to 25th September 2014. Practical sessions were hosted by Core Woods (U) Ltd (one of the SPGS contracted clients and a total of 25 participants attended the course.
The objective of the course was to equip forest contractors with practical skills in business management and cost control, contract management, planning and budgeting, productivity and labor management.
The content covered included importance of entrepreneurial skills in forest contracting, derivation of a manday rate, importance of planning in forestry operations and how to manage labour and improve productivity and contract management. Field activities were centered around workstudies in weed control operations (slashing, spot hoeing and spraying) but with emphasis being placed on how to determine the standard time for performing these operations.
The trainees were assessed basing on active participation in the field and class, team work, time keeping and discipline among other things. Agambe Gilesemerged as the best trainee and winner of the book prize entitled Tree planting Guidelines for Uganda.
As part of a series of the practical training courses, SPGS organized and successfully ran a Weed Control Training course at Bukenya Foundation Motel in Luweero from 17th to 21st August 2014. Nileply Woods (U) ltd (contracted SPGS client in Nakasongola) hosted us for the field/practical sessions of the training.
The course was aimed at equipping forest contractors and forest managers/supervisors with modern practical skills in weed control with particular emphasis on practical aspects of chemical weeding, planning and budgeting and productivity in all the weed control operations.
The training was 90% practical and only 10% theory. The content covered included weed infestation prevention, planning, budgeting and labor balancing; weed control programs, practical exercise in manual weeding operations (spot hoeing and slashing); introduction to chemical weeding, calibration, tasking and productivity, responsible use and storage of chemicals (including use of proper PPEs, chemical toxicity etc), and spraying equipment including the different types of knapsacks and nozzles. The concept of Productivity, standards and proper supervision in all operations was emphasized. All participants had enough time and tools to practices.
This time round, we invited service providers of spraying equipment (Braz Afric) and chemicals (MTK) to provide more information on issues of usage, maintenance, storage of spraying equipment and also differentiating between
counterfeiter product and original products.
Also every evening participants had time to watch training videos made by SPGS on various the aspects of commercial farming, these included pruning, thinning and weed control. This gave them much exposure and understanding of various issues not shared during classroom or field work.
The training ended with the award of certificates to the trainees. The trainees were accessed on their active participation in the field and classroom exercises, (completion of task), team work, time keeping, and discipline among other things. Were Julius, a forest manager of Jonathan Ssekikongo in Nakasongola district emerged as the best trainee and winner of a Brand new knapsack.
The European Union has for the last 10 years played a key role in supporting the private sector to establish commercial timber plantations in Uganda, through the Sawlog Production Grant Scheme (SPGS). On the 13th August 2014, the EU head of delegation to Uganda, his Excellency ambassador Kristian Schmidt, visited Mityana and Mubende on a mission to tour some of SPGS supported projects. The ambassador was accompanied by a delegation from the ministry of Water and Environment, Ministry of Finance and Economic planning, National Forestry Authority, Uganda Timber Growers Association and SPGS.
The delegation visited the following projects;
Kisaana clonal nursery; Kisana Clonal Nursery is owned by Abubaker Mwima. Formerly an employee of Uganda Gatsby Trust, managing the Gatsby tree biotechnology project in Uganda, Abubaker left Uganda Gatsby Trust in 2012 to start his own business, managing his own clonal eucalyptus nursery. He is an SPGS certified commercial tree nursery operator producing 1,000,000 seedlings annually and employing over 50 workers.
New Forests Poles/New Forests Company (NFC); New Forests Company (NFC) is one of the four multinational forest companies in Uganda. Since 2004, the company has planted 3,000 ha of both pines and eucalyptus, with support from SPGS, with plantations in Mubende, Kiboga, and Bugiri, both on Central Forest Reserves and Private land. NFC has however planted over and above the SPGS supported area, using own resources. New Forests Company ventured into value addition and opened a pole treatment plant; New Forests Poles in Mityana. The company buys poles from local farmers and also from own plantations, treats and sells both to local and international markets. New Forests Company is FSC certified