Forestry Development Trust (FDT)

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The Forestry Development Trust (FDT) is an independent institution established in 2013 by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, with a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. The Trust aims to transform the commercial forestry sector in Tanzania by facilitating market system changes that build competitiveness, inclusiveness and resilience. For more information visit our website:



ase asset valuations of timber resources in the medium term, the Trust aims to strengthen the ability and motivation of forest institutions (private and public) to provide services to growers that collectively improve wood volumes, quality and market access. Specifically, the Trust works to increase demand for, and supply of, an improved genetic resource base; increase demand for, and access to, improved input and output markets; and strengthen the enabling environment through sector insight and stakeholder coordination.

The Trust is driven by the demands of the sector and is responsive to the needs of growers, designing interventions that are underpinned by sound economic analysis and a strong commercial rationale.

FDT’s role is to facilitate co-ordinated interventions among Tanzanian forestry actors that will in turn:

  • Increase the supply of higher-value wood products and energy from sustainable sources;
  • Increase smallholder planting and employment in sustainable private forestry;
  • Raise net incomes for the sector’s smallholders; and
  • Ensure quality services and industry functions are provided sustainably.

To achieve these objectives, FDT is running a programme made up of three components:

  1. Tree Improvement and Research is supporting the development of a multi-partner, long-term tree improvement programme that benefits all scales of tree grower, leading ultimately to sustained domestic production of improved planting material, informed by a responsive and dynamic research base.
  2. Tree Grower Services is Building demand for, and access to improved input markets including the production and dissemination of improved planting material, and contractor and extension services in support of best silviculture practices, and strengthening market integration of private tree growers.
  3. Markets and Policy is facilitating the development of inclusive, competitive and resilient business models in wood product markets, and supporting a conducive enabling environment through engagement with public and private actors and provision of sector insight.

The Trust has recently revised its strategic focus, which emphasises the sustainability principles of market systems development (or M4P) and embodies the ‘Gatsby sector transformation approach’ to build the inter-related building blocks of competitiveness, inclusiveness and resilience.

FDT has national scope but is initially focusing activities in the Southern Highlands, where 60,000 people are already growing trees.

Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding between FDT and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, an Advisory Panel convenes periodically to assess sector priorities, refine FDT activities and ensure effective collaboration between stakeholders. Members of the Advisory Panel include Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania Forest Services, Tanzania Tree Seed Agency, Tanzania Forestry Research Institute, Forestry Training Institute – Olmotonyi, Forestry Industries Training Institute, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Green Resources Limited, Tanganyika Wattle Company Limited, Kilombero Valley Teak Company, New Forests Company, Mufindi Paper Mills, Federation of Forest Industries (SHIVIMITA), Tree Growers Association Apex Body, the Private Forestry Programme and some independent specialists.

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