Chief Mulendema of the Ila people of Isalama in Mumbwa district has attributed the rampant charcoal production in his chiefdom to the demand of the commodity in Lusaka city.
Chief Mulendema said the bulky of charcoal produced in his chiefdom is not used in Mumbwa but in Lusaka city where there is a huge demand for it.
He acknowledged that fighting charcoal burning is an uphill battle which requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders.
Chief Mulendema was speaking at his palace today when a team of officials from the Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) paid a courtesy call on him.
“In Mulendema chiefdom, we have decreed that there will be no commercial charcoal production but it is an uphill battle because of the market and demand in Lusaka, which is a stone throw away from here,” he explained.
He said village headmen and women have been instructed to allow cutting trees only for genuine reasons and activities like clearing land for agricultural purposes.
Chief Mulendema further explained that the chiefdom has also resolved to confiscate illegally obtained charcoal, sell it and use the proceeds for the benefit of the community.
He noted that the solution to the rampant charcoal burning is to find an alternative source of energy for people in both rural and urban areas of Zambia.
He said charcoal production might reduce once communities understand that conserving forests will earn them money through carbon trading.
Carbon trade is the buying and selling of credits that permit a company or other entity, including communities in the case of Zambia, to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. The goal of carbon credits and the carbon trade is to gradually reduce overall carbon emissions and mitigate their contribution to climate change.
The traditional leader has meanwhile commended COMACO for promoting forest conservation and smart agriculture in his chiefdom.
And some poachers in Chief Mulendema’s area have surrendered their firearms to engage in legal and profitable activities through support from COMACO.
Chief Mulendema said this amnesty has helped reduce poaching in the game management area (GMA) in Kafue National Park in his chiefdom.