Factors for successful contracting in plantation forest management: a case study of the new forests company, Mubende/Kassanda, Namwasa plantations, Uganda
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Forest investors have increasingly contracted out various forest operations to eligible and skilled contractors to achieve the investment goals. An assessment of the factors that influence the success of contracts undertaken by the contractors of the New Forests Company (NFC) -Namwasa Plantation was carried out, first; To establish different forestry contracts at the plantations, Second; To find out the reasons for the success of the contracts undertaken by contractors and lastly, To find out the challenges faced in carrying out the contracts and how they are resolved by both the client and the contractors. A detailed questionnaire was administered to 40 people, comprising of the contractor directors, their supervisors, clients and contractor workers, Personal interviews with key informants including plantation manager and contractor directors was used. Descriptive statistics using tables was used to analyze the data. The study revealed that; various silvicultural operations and forest protection were the main contracts undertaken by the NFC contractors who were; Nature Foresters Co Ltd, Kam Forestry Co Ltd, Kwabakya forestry enterprise limited and Vatican Foresters Co Ltd. Key factors including staff quality and development, mutual understanding of the work, good and quality management by both parties, financial management, issues of accountability,transparency and integrity highly determined the successful completion of the contracted work. Challenges associated with the nature of forestry work, health and safety issues, weather changes limited and scarce resources (finances, equipment etc,), work fractuations, supervision challenges affected forestry contracting at both industry, firm and individual level. Findings also revealed that; Regular and effective communication between parties, hiring skilled and professional staff to manage and supervise workers as well as ensuring their capacity development through trainings will lead to further improvement in forestry contracting. In addition, proper planning, involving actual and ideal plans for limited resources could help counteract irregularities in productivity and thereby improving contracting in forestry operations. Motivational factors should be clearly understood and applied to increase productivity and performance in forestry contracting.