Thanks to your support Erick Mbebati is now a young timber businessman from Matembwe village in Njombe Region, Tanzania.

Erick was a farmer, things were not going well. Yields were low and income too. He did not have enough capital to invest in agricultural inputs and like many youth living in rural areas had difficulties to find employment. This trapped him in a precarious situation.

However, everything changed on the 1st of May 2018 when the Timber Market Centre started to operate in the village. Matembe’s Tree Growers Association (UWAMIMA) manages the Market Centre with the support of FFD and the expertise of Päijät-käme MHY.

The market opened to increase smallholder tree grower’s income by selling their timber and timber products through the Market Centre. In the first 8 months farmers have seen their income risen by 10% even if political stability and policies governing the timber business are not favourable. Though, the Market Centre has exceeded all expectations as an economic growth and decent jobs creator.

After I heard about the market centre I decided to apply for casual work and started working in the MC in mid of May 2018.
— Erick

As Erick other 35 young people from the village were employed as casual workers. Currently, 50 youth are employed as casual workers in loading and unloading, sorting, piling and drying timber, among others. Furthermore, 5 people are employed full-time in the Market by UWAMIMA.

In August my boss appointed me to be a supervisor of his business in the market. Later in November I decided to start my own business and now am supervising my own business.
— Erick

Later that year Erick joined UWAMIMA and is now benefiting from other UWAMIMA services besides the market, like bookkeeping, product diversification, briquette making and business management. Furthermore, to increase the capacity of members UWAMIMA developed a revolving fund scheme. Members can borrow money at a low interest and use it within one month and return the money to UWAMIMA. Erick is taking every opportunity the project and the market are bringing to him.

If god wishes my plan is to expand my business and employ my colleagues. I would like to say the market centre is my boss. Currently, I am able to pay fees for my young brother and sister who are now taking their secondary studies. Again, I am able to send money to my mother.
— Erick

More rural people is joining the business. In addition, others are developing services to assist the users of the market, buyers, sellers, workers and carriers. Therefore, roadside stalls are increasing in the area becoming a source of income.

Thanks to your support the market Centre is promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all (SDG-8) in the area. Many other stakeholders are looking forward to replicating the model in their own areas and regions.

Erick Mbebati in his lot in the Matembe Market Centre

Erick Mbebati in his lot in the Matembe Market Centre


Azam News report from the Matembe wood market in Njombe, Tanzania, explaining the benefits and challenges of being a forester and farmer and wood trader in the region. FFD and UWAMIMA are in cooperation in Tanzania.

Tiina Huvio