Forest resources are of prime importance to the people and economy of Uganda owing to the range of ecological, economic, social and cultural products and services they provide for a multitude of stakeholders. However, forests in the country have declined from 4.9 million hectares in 1990 to an estimated 2.08 million hectares in 2015, although there was a marked increase in the area of planted forests since the early 2000s. Traditionally, forest management in Uganda has been the preserve of government with the private sector predominantly engaged in secondary production and trade in forest products, particularly timber. However, over the past decade, there has been increased participation of the private sector in primary forest production. The national forest policy envisages the private sector to play a central role in managing forests on private land, developing and managing commercial forest plantations, and developing and managing forest products processing industries. This country report is the result of a study conducted in 2015 and 2016 aimed at identifying and promoting public private partnership (PPP) approaches for forest compatible sustainable livelihoods development with the view to strengthen understanding of the key actors in both primary and secondary forestry production in Uganda.
The study was conducted through desk review of extant literature, key informant interviews, and field surveys in selected districts across the country. It involved mapping of key actors in primary and secondary forest production and ascertaining information relating to key products and production, employment, policies and regulations, gender issues, marketing and trade, contribution of private forest sector activities, linkages among actors and the scope of public private partnerships in Uganda’s forest sector.
Findings of the study indicate that there are multiple actors in the sector with the private sector playing an increasingly dominant role in both primary and secondary forest production as government focuses on creating an enabling environment. A variety of tree species are managed in natural forests but P. caribaea and E. grandis are the major species managed in plantations. The planted forest estate approached 90,000ha with an estimated 7 million cubic metres of growing stock. Secondary forest production involved production of various forest products ranging from fuelwood to non-timber forest products. While the primary production sector exhibited appreciable performance, the secondary sector was curtailed by limited supply of round wood. Vertical and horizontal linkages were generally weak with relationships being more informal than formal but emerging players seemed to be pursuing strategies for vertical integration while a section of players in the primary sector made efforts to integrate horizontally. However collaborative arrangements between the public and private sectors have been successfully implemented with appreciable achievements and there is potential for further collaboration for the benefit of the forestry sector. This will help consolidate the achievements so far made, particularly contributions of the private forestry sector such as advocacy, employment generation, social services and value addition to forest produce.