Solving Africa’s wood crisis 


For decades, forests across Africa have been destroyed to make charcoal, fuel and construction materials. As the population skyrockets, so does the demand for wood — and the continent’s forests can’t keep up. Commercial tree plantations could provide part of the solution.


© Erica Flemming


Komaza is a forestry business that uses an innovative “microforestry” model to employ and assist tens of thousands of marginalized farmers to earn a substantial income from sustainable tree farming. The company provides the farmers with support across the forestry value chain, from seedlings to sawmills, and then harvests the wood produced during a 10-15-year harvest cycle to sell as sustainable wood products, primarily for construction.


A US$ 500,000 convertible note (a loan that converts into stock after a company goes through its next round of funding) will enable Komaza to expand its operations, strengthen its operational efficiency and financial health and attract larger environmentally focused impact investors.


Komaza’s microforestry model presents an environmentally responsible alternative to traditional large-scale, commercial tree farming. Using smaller lots, trees grown with this method consume less water and soil nutrients and generally exert less pressure on the surrounding environment. Planting more trees also results in substantial carbon sequestration, which is essential to fighting climate change. Additionally, one of the tree species planted by Komaza, melia, lends itself to mixed-crop agroforestry and helps to rebuild soil fertility, leading to higher yields of surrounding food crops and further increasing income for farmers.