Post: Forestry Sector

Forestry Sector

Size and Structure of the Economy

Forests and woodlands cover approximately 4.9 million hectares in Uganda, about 24% of the total land area. The vast majority of this is woodland (19%), while the rest is tropical moist forest (5%) and forest. In 2011, Forestry contribution to GDP was 3%. The sector offers employment in the formal and informal sectors.

The National Forestry Authority (NFA), estimates the present employment of the forest-based activities in the formal sector at approximately 100,000 man years distributed by main activities as follows (Manyears are based on 260 working days per year)


1) Fuel wood and charcoal production 89,150




2) Industrial Plantation establishment and management 10,000



3) Forest industry (including harvesting) 1,800



4) Non-wood (Rattan, beekeeping) 200




5) Institutions 2,200




6) Consultancy services in the Sector 1,500



Source: National Forest Authority

There are 698 (1,266,000 hectares) gazetted forest reserves. In addition, 730,000 hectares are located in national parks and game reserves. The majority of the reserves are less than 1,000 hectares. Of the total gazetted forest reserves, 506 are Central Forest Reserves (CFR) and 192 Local Forest Reserves (LFR). The central forest reserves, which account for 30 per cent of the national forest cover, are managed by NFA and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) while the Local forest reserves are managed by Local Governments.

Besides the publicly managed forest reserves, there is a growing number of privately owned commercial forests.

Forest Species
Uganda is endowed with various tree species that provide all the desired categories of timber. The most common are the hard wood species. Other exotic tree species are being introduced.

The total forest reserve area is estimated at 1,277,684 hectares, of which 99.6 % is under the Central Forest Reserves while 0.4% is on Local Forest Reserves. Uganda offers six (6) principal indigenous/natural forest reserves for harvesting with hard wood species such as Chlorophora excelsa, Celtis, Maesopsis eminii, Entandrophragma, Cynometra alexandrii, Lovoa brownii, and Newtonia buchanani


Table of Principal Forest Reserves, Location and Sizes

Reserves Location Area (Sq. km)
Budongo Masindi


Bugoma Hoima


Kalinzu-Maramagambo Bushenyi/ Rukungiri


Kasyoha-Kitomi Bushenyi/ Mbarara


Mabira Buikwe


Sango Bay Rakai


        Source: National Biomass Study Forestry Regulatory Authority

Current structure of Players in the Sector Policy, Legal and Regulatory Framework

The governing law for the sector is the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act 2003. It subdivides the sector into five different forest managers namely; National Forest Authority (NFA) to manage the Central Forest Reserves, the District Forestry Services responsible for the Local Government Forests/Local Forest Reserves, Community Forests managed by the community and Forests on private land by the private land owners. The Act also established a Forest Inspection Division (Forestry Sector Support Department) to provide supportive backup to both the NFA and District Forest Services.

Demand Drivers and Resource Base Factors

Demand Drivers

  • Government policy to encourage tree planting
  • Population growth
  • Use of firewood and charcoal
  • Growing local regional and international market for forest products

            Resource Base factors

  • Fertile soils
  • Sufficient rainfall

Biomass Energy requirements
The contribution of forestry to national energy demands is mostly expressed through woody biomass use by households and institutions for heating purposes. In addition to its contribution to ecological and energy concerns, forestry also supports forestry-related commercial products and services. These include timber products, ecotourism, arts & crafts, bee products, herbal medicine and rattan-cane. There is very little information to indicate trends in these products and services.

Projections of domestic demand for timber show a requirement of over 1million cubic meters of round wood by 2025. The market for timber products is mainly local and the export market for round wood timber is restricted in order to avoid depleting the indigenous forests. However, timber based products such as furniture can be exported.


which is based on forest biodiversity is becoming a market niche for Uganda.

General purpose timber:

The main requirement in Uganda is general purpose timber for construction and furniture making. Species like pine are very suitable for these markets and could eventually replace much of the hardwood timber.

Investment and Business Opportunities

Value Addition
The Sector offers numerous opportunities in areas such as:

  • Timber and non timber processing
  • Manufacture of high quality furniture/wood products
  • Saw milling
  • Paper and printing as well as packaging.
  • Saw dust for furniture
  • Wood treatment

Primary production
There are also opportunities in afforestation and reforestation especially of forest medicinal trees and craft material. Examples:

  • Developing tree nurseries of pure tree seedlings and seed multiplication
  • Trees for construction purposes.
  • Poles for power transmission and distribution
  • Eco-tourism
  • Apiculture
  • Medicinal herbs

Investment trends in the sector

 Investment in the sector has registered steady increase in both plantation and value addition activities. There are several on-going forestry projects some of which include:

  • New Forests Company Ltd, a sustainable modern forestry company has planted the first phase of 6,500hectares at Namasa Central Forest Reserves in Mubende District.
  • Busoga Forest Company Ltd: This is engaged in commercial forest plantation in Bukaleba Forest Reserve in Mayuge District.
  • Global Woods (U) Ltd: A reforestation project in Kikondwa forest Reserve in Kiboga District.

Sector Licensing Requirements
(Refer to Appendix3

      Useful Addresses and Contacts

Uganda Investment Authority
P.O. Box 7418 Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256-414-301000
Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB)
Plot 5 George Street
4th Floor Georgian House
General: +256-41-235915/233219
Fax:+256-414-250712 256-414-345727
P.O. Box 6848, Kampala
National Forestry Authority
10/20 Spring Road, Nakawa
Tel: +256-312-264035/6, 414-230365/6
Saw Log Grant Scheme
Plot 92 Luthuli Avenue, Bugolobi Kampala
Tel: +256312265332/3
Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA)
Lugogo Show Grounds
P.O. Box 6966 Kampala
Tel: +256-414220285
National Forestry Resources Research Institute
P.O. Box 1752, Kampala
Tel: 256-41-255164
Fax: 256-41-255165
Uganda Revenue Authority
Headquarters: Nakawa Industrial Area
Postal: P.O. Box 7279, Kampala Uganda
General line: +256-41-334000/1-10
National Research Organization (NARO), Forestry
Research Institute (FORI)
P.O. Box 1752, Kampala
Tel: +256-414-255163/255164
Fax: +256-414255165
National Environmental Management Authority
NEMA HOUSE, Plot 17/19/21 Jinja Road
P O Box 22255 Kampala – Uganda
Tel: 256-414-251064/5/8
Uganda Wildlife Authority
Plot 7 Kira Road, Kamwokya
P.O. Box 3530, Kampala Uganda
Tel: +256-41-346287, 346288, 355000
Fax: +256-41-346291
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