Natural Resources and Environment:
Natural resources sector is comprised of various sub-sectors including forestry, fisheries and bee-keeping. The sector is very important in the contribution to social and economic development of the Region. According to the 2002 Population and Housing Census Shinyanga Regional Profile, the sector provides employment to about 8.6 percent of the total labor force in the region. Apart from economic gains, the sector also plays an important role in the maintenance of climate stability, conservation of water sources, soil fertility, controlling land erosion, and providing source of wood fuel, industrial materials and non wood products such as honey and bee-wax as well as providing habitats for wild animals.
Shinyanga region has a total surface area of 18,555 sq. kms out of which 282 sq.kms or 1.5 percent is covered by water bodies of Lake Kitangiri and rivers. The remaining 18,273 sq.km is dry land area. Regarding to land coverage, Table No.8 shows that distribution of the region’s area among the districts is heavily in favor of Kahama and Shinyanga District Council, of which Kahama District Council covers 51.8 percent of total land area of the region followed by Shinyanga Rural District with23 percent, Kishapu with 22.2 percent, and Shinyanga Municipal Council has the smallest land area in the region constituting of only 3.0 percent.
Fishing is not a prominent economic activity in Shinyanga region. Small scale fishing practiced in some parts of the region is merely for domestic consumption. However, fish breeding is practiced at two fish breeding stations covering an area of 8 hectares. Over 100,000 fingerlings mainly Tilapia species are produced annually for onward stocking into dam reservoirs and ponds for domestic fish farming. Fresh water fish are obtained from dam reservoirs, seasonal rivers and Lake Kitangiri. Nevertheless, fish is comparatively scarce in Shinyanga region compared with other lake zone regions.
Land and forest resources are the main natural endowments of Tanzania. In Shinyanga the total forest reserve area in the region amounts to 1,172,578Ha and 500Ha Community Forest Management Reserve (CFMR). However it has been noticed that the country’s forest area has been declining yearly. Shinyanga region being part of Tanzania also experiences the same problem.
Causes of this decline in the region are mainly due to agricultural expansion, fuel wood utilization and tobacco curing in tobacco growing areas, over grazing, wildfire, over exploitation of wood resources for various purposes and other human activities.
Examples of types of trees found in the region include Moringa spp, Eucalypus spp, Albizia spp, Acacia spp, Brachystegia spp, Termarindus india, Adansonia digitata, Afzelia spp, Grevillea spp, Gliricidia spp, Melia orborea, Pterocarpu spp, Senna spp and Vitex spp and many other hardwood trees. Establishment of tree plantations for industrial materials is possible in Kahama District where rainfall pattern ranks highest in the region.
The natural resource annual reports indicate that timber production potential has been declining due to uncontrolled harvest in the open forest. Knowing the danger facing the region, the government and private sectors have intensified their efforts in a forestation programmes.
Geographical location of the region creates a better change for growth and development of tourism sector. The region is very close to the best Tanzanian tourist circuits so called Northern tourist circuits. 135 Km2 of the Ngorongoro crater and 694 Km2 of Serengeti national park are found within the neighboring Simiyu region specifically in Meatu district. Furthermore the neighboring Maswa, Moyowosi and Kigosi game reserve also make the region a better destination for tourists.
Wildlife animals such as Hippo. Lion. Zebra, Buffalo, Elephant, Wild dog, Bushbuck, Impala, Giraffe and Baboon can be seen in those game reserves and in the national park. Activities permitted in the national park include viewing and photographic safaris, research and training activities. In game reserves game cropping tourist hunting, photographic safaris and training activities are undertaken. Also within Shinyanga region there is a site that discharges hot natural water (hot spring water) which has not been developed in terms of infrastructure to attract tourism industry in the region.
Forest products such as timber, poles and charcoal earn revenue to the government through permits and taxes.
Shinyanga is among the regions in Tanzania known for honey and bee-wax production. The forest cover available in some parts of the region has a great potential for bee keeping though the sector is still under developed due to lack of know-how and modern technology. This results the existing potential of this important economic activity not to be fully exploited. Kahama and Kishapu districts are a bit prominent in traditional bee keeping and are now adopting for modern bee – keeping. Tanzania’s honey is ranked among the best in the world because it is purely organic of high quality. Honey and its by products are in high demand locally and in the export market such as Europe, Japan, USA and middle East.
Regarding the wildlife sector, the region is endowed with one game reserve which borders Moyowosi Game Reserve on western side in Kigoma region. This game reserve in Kahama District and Bukombe District in Geita Region (formerly in Shinyanga Region) is covering an area about 7,000 Km2. The Game Reserve is endowed with wild animal such as Hippo, Lions, Leopards, Sitatunga, Sable Zebra, Buffalo, Wilddogs, Bushbuck, Impala, Giraffe, Baboons, Greater Kudu, Topi, Roan Antelope and Elephants. These wildlife areas already attract a fair number of tourists due to the fact that the area is not yet developed in terms of tourist accommodation and camping sites for tourist hunting. Kigosi Game Reserve is mostly suitable for trophy hunting.
However, on prior arrangement, photographic safaris, walking safaris and bird watching can be organized as well as accommodation (fly camps). The reserve can be accessed by chartered light air craft or scheduled flights to Shinyanga then by road approximately 2hrs drive. This reflects that there is investment potential yet to be tapped in this sub sector Furthermore, Maswa, Moyowosi Kigosi and Kigosi game reserves also make the region a better destination for tourists. Wildlife animals such as hippo, lion, zebra, buffalo, elephant, wild dog, bushbuck, impala, giraffe and baboon can be seen in those game reserves and national park. Activities permitted in the national park include viewing and photographic safaris and research and training activities. In game reserves, game cropping, tourist hunting, photographic safaris and training activities are undertaken.
Shinyanga region play a significant role in mineral production in the country. However, the sector has yet to contribute significantly to the region’s economy. The region attracted a large flow of Foreign Direct Investment, mainly in the mining of gold and diamonds. According to ‘Taarifa ya Utendaji kazi ya Ofisi za Madini Kanda ya Kati Magharibi katika kipindi cha mwaka 2009’, medium scale diamond mining company, El- Hillal Minerals Limited operates in Buganika in Mwadui area in Kishapu District. Large scale diamond mining company, Williamson Diamonds Limited operates in Mwadui area while large scale gold mining companies, Pangea Minerals Ltd and Kahama Mining Corporation Ltd are observed in Buzwagi and Bulyanhulu also in Kahama District.
Shinyanga region play a significant role in mineral production in the country. However, the sector has yet to contribute significantly to the region’s economy. The region attracted a large flow of Foreign Direct Investment, mainly in the mining of gold and diamonds. According to ‘Taarifa ya Utendaji kazi ya Ofisi za Madini Kanda ya Kati Magharibi katika kipindi cha mwaka 2009’, medium scale diamond mining company, El- Hillal Minerals Limited operates in Buganika in Mwadui area in Kishapu District.