Government will soon embark on a pilot project of planting solid bamboo to help curb deforestation in Kazungula district.
Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Jean Kapata disclosed this when she visited Nyawa Chiefdom in Kazungula district in Southern Province to secure land for the project.
Ms Kapata said her ministry earmarked Nyawa for the pilot project because of the high levels of deforestation in the area and the passion shown by the Chief in protecting the environment.
She added that once land is secured in Nyawa, the project will commence before the end of the 2017-2018 rainy season.
Ms Kapata said the project will be rolled out to all the other nine provinces in the country.
The Minister further explained that the solid bamboo plant which takes 4 years to mature can be used for several purposes which include charcoal, timber and stock feed.
She added that the plant can thereafter be harvested for 15 years.
“We are aware that some people earn their livelihoods through charcoal burning and therefore want to provide an alternative. It is only then that we can ban and stiffen laws against the cutting of trees for charcoal,” Ms Kapata stated.
Earlier, the minister led some officers from the Forestry Department and other government officials in planting trees as part of the implementation of the 2017/18 tree planting season under the theme ‘Plant Trees To Grow the Economy Sustainably.’
And Chief Nyawa of the Tonga people in Kazungula has pledged 200 hectares of land in each of the 500 villages of his chiefdom for the bamboo project.
The traditional leader said he is troubled with the levels of deforestation in his chiefdom hence has urged his subjects to embrace the development as it will bring several benefits.
“Let’s ensure we participate in this project, as we heard, we’ll be able to sell the seedlings to other districts thereby earning some income,” he advised.
Meanwhile, Southern Province Permanent Secretary, Mwangala Liomba has expressed happiness with the efforts by men in uniform to implement the Timber ban.
He was speaking earlier when Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Jean Kapata called on him at his office in Choma.
He disclosed that two trucks carrying Mukula logs were recently impounded and have since been handed over to the relevant Provincial Joint Operations Committee in Kazungula district.