In commemoration of Earth Day 2012, U.S. Ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt visited Kigoma in order to personally survey the Landscape Scale Community Centered Ecosystem Conservation in Western Tanzania Project. With support from the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and administered by The Jane Goodall Institute, the Project seeks to boost rural household incomes in the region while incorporating environmental conservation techniques. The Project also seeks to expand the land area under improved natural resource management.
On April 25, Ambassador Lenhardt met Kalinzi village residents who have benefitted from economic growth through environmentally friendly coffee production, and visited a local growers coffee cooperative. USAID supports coffee husbandry and marketing for the coffee producers. Buyers of the coffee from this cooperative include Starbucks and other international coffee companies. The coffee processed in Kalinzi has won numerous prizes and is considered to be the best coffee in Tanzania.
Ambassador Lenhardt also visited a tree planting regeneration effort that is supported by the USAID-funded project to address deforestation and soil erosion in the area. The project promotes the planting of a fast-growing species to regenerate the landscape while providing village residents with a ready source of firewood in lieu of cutting firewood from the protected forest, and helps to maintain the ecosystem in Gombe Park and the chimpanzee habitat. Ambassador Lenhardt joined local residents in planting a tree at Kalinzi Ward Office in celebration of Earth Day 2012.
The Ambassador observed that area households are now using cook stoves that have been introduced by the project. The cook stoves are low-cost, slow fuel burning stoves that reduce the amount of firewood that is needed per household by 50 percent, thus helping to conserve the surrounding forests.
As Tanzanian families and communities are highly dependent on natural resources for social and economic development, the American people are proud to support sustainable management of these resources for achieving equitable economic growth that benefits rural Tanzanian communities.