In an important step towards building a sustainable industry in East Africa, the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) hosted a three-day workshop last month to address all the issues causing early pole failure, and to determine the necessary steps for rectifying the problem.The workshop gained unprecedented support, with about 80 stakeholders from the East Africa region attending. Among them plantation owners, pole manufacturers, Dolphin Bay, the Tanzanian Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and the Tanzania Bureau of Standards.Treated poles are required for Tanzania’s electrification programme, which is crucial for the industrialisation and economic growth of the country. However, Tanesco has found that a large proportion of poles are failing prematurely, which poses an urgent threat to our industry in the region.Fifteen resolutions were adopted at the workshop, which took place in Iringa, south Tanzania, and a working group is being put together to propose recommendations for how best to implement these resolutions. These recommendations will be presented for Tanesco’s review before the end of the year.The discussions drilled down into all the technical issues and addressed, among other things, concerns about the adequacy of the Tanzanian specification; ensuring a common understanding regarding the necessary treatment processes; and other factors crucial for ensuring pole longevity.One day was devoted to field trips to New Forests Company and Sao Hill Industries, where exemplary treatment processes were demonstrated, and also to the local Forestry Development Trust, where the tree characteristics required for quality poles were highlighted.Dr Eng Mabulla, Safety Manager for Tanesco, said that Dolphin Bay had made “vital contributions” at the workshop, and would provide important aid in the future.“Dolphin Bay gave an educative and practical presentation that was taken as a leading paper by the workshop during the drawing-up of resolutions,” he said. “We look forward to working closely with Dolphin Bay on the area of preservative chemicals, specifically seeking assistance for ensuring that pole manufacturers are using preservative chemicals for treating poles in the right way.”He added that, in future, Tanesco would receive “enhanced communication” from Dolphin Bay regarding information and equipment that would ensure that the preservation of wood treatment chemicals was determined and measured properly.“Dolphin Bay is expected to be one of the stakeholders involved in proposing recommendations for improving the standard, S11,” he concluded.