Kanpetlet Township, Myanmar - On 2 August 2017, the Myanmar Forest Department issued community forestry certificates (CFCs) to all six villages under the Scaling Up Community Forestry (SUComFor) project in Kanpetlet township, Chin State.The CFCs provide tenure rights for 30 years for over 1235 hectares for 124 households. More than fifty people, including representatives of forest user groups (FUGs); a member of parliament; Director, Assistant Director and Staff Officer of the Forest Department; local authorities; and guests and staff of RECOFTC attended the CFC awarding ceremony in Kanpetlet. Under the agreements, FUGs are responsible for managing forests that have been handed over in accordance with the forest management plan approved by the Forest Department. Activities in the management plan include reforestation, sustainable harvesting and conservation, and livelihood improvement.
The community from Out V-Tone Village, Kanpetlet Township, plans to restore their forest and hope that the basic needs - shelter and food - and the income for everyone in the FUG will increase. U Bu Kwee, from Out V-Tone Village, believes that thanks to the CFCs the community will be have more opportunities for income generation. “We can get polls and posts in the next five or seven years as we plant teak and through thinning processes. In addition, we can get benefits from bamboo shoots and mushrooms”, U Bu Kwee said. The CFCs ensure that local communities have secure rights over their forests. Land grabbing by elites and private sector companies is a real concern for villagers in Kanpetlet township. One representative of an FUG said that, thanks to the CFCs, no one can easily grab their land. Added to this, the communities now have more trust in the government (particularly the Forest Department) and they believe they can effectively manage their forests. U Bu Kwee reflects, “before getting the certificates in hand, we were starting to lose hope. But due to the cooperation among all CF members, RECOFTC staff and the forest departments, we have finally received the certificates.”
RECOFTC has been working to double the amount of land under community forestry agreements in Myanmar to 85 000 hectares under the Scaling Up Community Forestry (SUComFor) project in Myanmar. So far the project has had a number of successes, and the CFCs issued to villages in Kanpetlet come after a number of similar successes, including 5700 hectares of CFCs issued to 18 villages in Gwa township. So far under the SUComFor project, 58 out of 103 villages (56%) have received CFCs from the Forest Department. Dr. Maung Maung Than, Country Program Coordinator of the Myanmar Country Programme believes that obtaining CFCs for remaining villages participating in the project is very achievable.
For more information on SUComFor see here: https://www.recoftc.org/article/recoftc-launches-new-project-scale-community-forestry-myanmar
For the previous CFCs awarded in Gwa Township, see here: https://www.recoftc.org/article/18-villages-covering-5700-hectares-become-community-forests-gwa-township-myanmar