NKOMBO KACHEMBA, Chinsali
MUCHINGA Province Minister Malozo Sichone says the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO) is likely to raise US$1 million from the sale of mukula logs that were seized from unscrupulous timber traders in the province.
Government has engaged ZAFFICO to collect and auction the mukula tree that was illegally cut in Muchinga Province by timber traders.
Mr Sichone said in an interview that Muchinga has plenty of mukula logs that were illegally cut by the traders and that ZAFFICO is likely to generate US$1 billion from the logs that they will collect from the bushes.
“Muchinga has plenty of trees, which are of commercial importance. Here in Muchinga, we also have the mukula tree and right now, the Zambia Forest and Forestry Industries have been engaged to auction the logs that were cut illegally,” he said.
Mr Sichone said apart from the mukula tree, Muchinga has abundant timber resources which are economically viable and can help to improve the socio-economic welfare of the people in the area.
He said the province has the mukwa and mopani trees,which are also highly sought by timber traders.
Mr Sichone,however, bemoaned the lack of a timber-processing factory in the region which can help to promote value addition on raw timber to create job opportunities for the local people.
He also urged investors to consider exploiting the tourism potential that the province has for the benefit of the people.
Mr Sichone said Muchinga Province houses the North- Luangwa National Park, which has the Big Five animal species and the Lavushimanda National Park, a home to the Black Lechwe.
He said there is need for investors to set up tour resorts and other tour facilities that can help to grow the tourism sector in the area.
Mr Sichone said the visitations to the two national parks are not impressive despite them being home to rare animal species.
He said Muchinga also has great potential in farming and it has good fertile soils that support the cultivation of rice, cotton, tobacco and sugar among others.
Mr Sichone said Government will continue to market the immense investment opportunities that are in Muchinga Province to woo investors that can create job opportunities for the local people.