Thursday, February 18, 2010

Encroachment of commercial forest saddens Tourism PS

Encroachment of commercial forest saddens Tourism PS
By Abigail Chaponda in Ndola
Thu 18 Feb. 2010, 11:10 CAT

TOURISM, environment and natural resources Permanent Secretary Gladys Kristasfor has said she is saddened at the encroachment levels in commercial forest plantations and forest reserves on the Copperblet.

And Kristasfor has said Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFICO) has replanted 1,290 hectares of trees out of 1,300 hectares target for the 2009/10 replanting season.

During a media briefing at ZAFFICO headquarters in Ndola on Tuesday, Kristasfor said encroachment in commercial forest plantation and forest reserves was contrary to the provision of the forests Act, Cap 199 of the Laws of Zambia.

She said in order to give ZAFFICO enhanced control on commercial forest plantation, the government would consider to include within the forests Act a forest category of the commercial forest plantation whose control and management would be vested in ZAFFICO through the forestry department.

“We must realise as Zambians that deforestation often leads to increased poverty levels and accelerated degradation. The government will continue to consider degazzetion of forests when necessary and will release excise land to allow legal settlements,” she said.

“We are appealing to our citizens to cooperate with government and the should only settle in legal designated areas. This will help us to have permanence and be able to practice sustainable agriculture and subsequently improve our livelihoods while at the same time deriving benefits from our forests.”

Kristasfor also appealed to saw-millers both small and large to continue improving their processing technology and promote value addition to reduce on wastage during harvesting and processing seasons.

She said the ministry through Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) and other cooperating partners was lobbying for support to ZAFFICO by way of technology development and attract joint ventures so that it could realise maximum benefit and help improve the economy.

She also said that beekeeping at Zambia Forestry College would be revamped through the rehabilitation of the Mwekera beekeeping factory in order to support students training in beekeeping and provision of well -processed bee products.

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