MWILA NTAMBI, Kawambwa
THE Zambia Forestry and Forests Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO) is cutting more trees than permitted annually because the demand for
wood has surpassed the supply capacity.
Speaking during a tour of their plantation in Kawambwa on Thursday, ZAFFICO director of plantations Cosmas Nshingo said the demand for wood products in the country currently stands at 750,000 cubic meters but the company is only able to supply 400,000 cubic meters.
“And even that 400,000 cubic meters is still above what is permissible. It is above the annual allowable cut which is 150,000 cubic meters,” Dr Nshingo said.
He said it is the demand for wood and wood products that prompted ZAFFICO, which previously only had plantations on the Copperbelt, to consider extending into Luapula and Muchinga provinces.
Dr Nshingo said so far, ZAFFICO has planted trees covering a total area of 1,080 hectares in Kawambwa District and that 25,000 hectares of their total land in the district is yet to be planted.
He said the plantation in Kawambwa will be the biggest the company will own once the remaining 25,000 hectares is planted.
Dr Nshingo said the company had to expand into Kawambwa because it was having difficulties on the Copperbelt in terms of competition for land use.
He said apart from land accessibility being relatively easier in Kawambwa than in cities, the weather and the soil is also conducive for growing of trees.
Dr Nshingo said the growth rate of both eucalyptus and pine trees planted in Kawambwa has been remarkable and that the harvest is likely to come earlier because the trees are growing so fast.
ZAFFICO currently manages about 48,800 hectares covering tree plantations across six stations spread across the Copperbelt, Muchinga and Luapula provinces.