The Zambian and Turkish Governments have agreed to immediately start the implementation of the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on co-operation in the field of Forestry.
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Jean Kapata and Turkey’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Bekir Pakdemirli agreed during a bilateral meeting in Ankara today on the importance for the two countries to start implementation of the issues contained in the co-operation agreement for their mutual benefits.
The Minister said shortly after the bilateral meeting that her Turkish counterpart has promised to send a team of technocrats to Zambia in October this year, to provide technical support in the areas of forestry, fish farming and land survey.
Ms. Kapata said an appeal has also being made to Turkey’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry that Zambia needs capacity building in the Forestry Department so that every district in the country has nurseries to prepare adequately for the tree planting that is undertaken every year beginning of the rainy season.
She said this in a statement issued to ZANIS by First Secretary for Press at the Zambian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, Jerry Munthali.
And Ms. Kapata also expressed concern over the high levels of deforestation in Zambia arising from indiscriminate cutting down of trees for charcoal production.
She said to address the problem of deforestation, Government has embarked on a project to buy 15,000 seedlings of a special solid bamboo species at a cost of K375, 000.
The Minister said Government will give each province 1,500 seedlings of this special solid bamboo species, which will be distributed to all districts.
She explained that the species of solid bamboo is special and once one seedling is planted, almost 200 sprouts are realized.
Ms. Kapata added that the solid bamboo also has a number of advantages as the charcoal that is produced from it would last longer than the one which is coming from the trees that the country currently has.
The Minister has since called on Zambians to support the Forestry Department as Government undertakes the project saying the trees only takes four years to mature and are drought resistant as well as nutritious for animals like cattle and goats.
She also said Government will strengthen laws to protect the forests and partner with the chiefs to secure land for the plantations.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli said the Turkish Government is ready to provide the necessary support to the Zambian Government to ensure the successful implementation of the MoU.