Business

State acts to curb illegal cutting of trees

TRYNESS MBALE, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT has trained several charcoal producer groups in bee-keeping and other income-generating activities to reduce over-dependence on wood fires in forestry reserves, Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Mwansa Kapeya told Parliament on Tuesday.
Mr Kapeya said the training of community members in forestry reserve areas in other income-generating activities will curb high rates of deforestation in the country estimated at 250,000 to 300,000 hectares annually.
Mr Kapeya was responding to Patriotic Front Kapiri Mposhi member of Parliament Eddie Musonda, who wanted to find out what measures Government has put in place to protect forestry reserves from encroachments in the area.
And once the district forest office is renovated, the bee-keeping programme and other initiatives aimed at reducing dependence on charcoal producing will be implemented by the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.
Government also intends to conduct sensitisation activities on the importance of forestry and increase patrols as measures to protect reserves in Kapiri Mposhi and the country as a whole.
“We have put measures to protect forestry reserves through sensitisation activities on the existence and importance of forestry estate and forestry patrols,” he said.
Currently, Government is training communities in alternative livelihood income-generating activities such as bee-keeping, crafts, basket making and fruit propagation as possibilities of reducing deforestation in the country.
He said Government will intensify patrols on all major entry points within the reserve areas to curb the illegal trade in forestry products such as harvesting of logs.
In the 2015 budget, Government has put aside funds to renovate dilapidated forestry offices in various districts.



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