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‘Kasempa electrification hasn’t reduced deforestation’

THE connection of Kasempa to the national electricity grid has not resulted in reduced deforestation since most people are still using charcoal as a source of power, district assistant forestry extension officer Joseph Sambondu has said.
Mr Sambondu also disclosed that honey production in Kasempa is expected to decline from the 42.2 tonnes produced last year due to late heavy rainfall last April, which destroyed trees.
In an interview on Friday, Mr Sambondu said lack of manpower is affecting the Department of Forestry to control the cutting down of trees for illegal timber and charcoal business.
“The forestry area in Kasempa is too vast and we only have two officers and two general workers so we have challenges to control people involved in illegal activities in the forests. The installation of reliable electricity from the grid hasn’t done much because people are still cutting trees for charcoal as energy. We also have problems with those building houses and other structures as they use trees to burn the bricks, but we shall not allow indiscriminate cutting down of trees for whatever reasons,” he said.
Mr Sambondu said the department is working closely with senior Chief Kasempa to stop deforestation.
He said Kasempa has over 500 bee-keepers but many farmers require training to enable them produce quality honey.
“Last year 42.2 tonnes of honey were produced by farmers that passed through our offices but others did not, so production must have been higher than this figure. This year, production is projected to decline due to the late heavy rains that destroyed many trees,” Mr Sambondu said.