Government has called on authorities in all districts of Zambia to establish at least 20 hectares of land forestry plantation depending on their local conditions.
Vice President Inonge Wina says the local authorities should consider establishing the forestry plantations in their respective localities as forestry by-products such as trees help protect the land from massive erosion and make a source of good, fresh and quality water in the country.
She pointed out that trees are also a source of shelter, fruits, building materials and firewood hence the need to sustainably manage the natural resource.
“I also wish to encourage every district to grow trees such as macadamia, cashew nuts, coffee and fruits that command huge profit margins on the international market,” she said.
The Vice President said this at Ndubulula primary school in Rufunsa district today when she officially launched the 2017/2018 tree planting season whose theme is: “ plant trees to grow the economy sustainably.”
She reiterated that trees support sustainable agriculture, food security, a green sustainable environment and are a source of income for many Zambian communities who sell fruits such as masuku and mangoes.
Mrs. Wina pointed out that research has emphasized the need for human beings to conserve their environments for better lives.
“We therefore need to pay attention to this important resource that we often cut without considering the negative impact,” she said adding that it was government’s desire that every citizen plants at least one tree.
And Mrs. Wina has said government was ready to partner with the private, public and community-based stakeholders in guaranteeing the successful implementation of the tree planting programme.
“I take this opportunity to call upon the private sector to seriously consider investing in the forest sector taking lessons from companies such as Nokia in Finland which started as a forest company before diversifying into a telecommunications industry,” she said.
She said this will support the diversification of Zambia’s economy thereby creating wealth from both traditional sources and forests and forest-related products.
The Vice President has also revealed measures to control the over-exploitation of valuable tree species such as muzauli, mulombe, mukusi and kayimbi brands.
Some of the measures embarked on include a massive national tree planting initiative called ‘Zambia plant a million trees, the development of the community forest management regulations, imposing a ban on exporting raw timber of all species and establishing a multi-sectoral task force to explore ways of promoting value addition to timber.
Meanwhile, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Jean Kapata said the tree planting event signifies the importance which government attaches to promoting sustainable environment.
Ms. Kapata has therefore appealed for more funding to ensure improved service delivery by her ministry.
And Lusaka Province Minister Japhen Mwakalombe said government will work to curb illegal timber traders.
Mr. Mwakalombe said indiscriminate cutting of trees has devastating effects to the environment and the economy the country.