Government says management of forests is one such activity that is being intensified in the country.

Lands and Natural Resources Minister Jean Kapata disclosed to ZANIS in Mongu District that they is a direct link to natural resources and climate change hence the need to safeguard forests.

Ms Kapata said the forest department in the province has concentrated on forest protection patrols and check points in all districts that have reserves in an effort to curb illegal timber logging.

The Minister revealed that they has been an increase in Illegal timber logging in both Western and North Western Provinces, a matter that has alarmed government.

“90% of concession licences in the two provinces have not been renewed as most timber merchants are in the habit of duplicating the same papers and distributing to others” she said.

Ms Kapata said Government is losing revenue in illegal timber activities.

The Minister said in order to replenish the lost forest, more than 300 hundred thousand seedlings will this year be planted during the tree planting exercise across the country.

And the Baroste Royal Establishment (BRE) Ngambela Mukela Manyando called on Government to relook at including the traditional structures when making plans for forest and natural resource management.

Ngambela Manyando said the rampant timber cutting is not benefitting the local community as they is no value addition.

“When there is no value addition to the raw material no jobs are created for the community,” he said.

Mr Manyando noted that the impact of some Government departments such as Forestry are not felt at the grassroot.

“They is need for Government to put up industries that will put value addition to the timber being harvested unlike exporting the raw material and importing the finished products,” Ngambela Manyando explained.

Meanwhile, government has embarked on a three hectare solid bamboo plantation on the outskirts of Mongu District

Lands Minister, Jean Kapata explained that the solid bamboo plant has drought resistant qualities that makes it easy to flourish in Western Province.

Ms Kapata said the bamboo plant is used for making charcoal briskets that are durable and last longer in use.

She pointed out that there is need for communities to change their mindsets and help preserve the indigenous tree species that are at the verge of extinction by adopting planting bamboo trees.

“We are calling upon traditional leadership to work hand in hand with government and promote bamboo tree planting to avoid charcoal burning,” Ms Kapata said.

“We are also currently training various communities in bee keeping and citrus tree planting in a project costing $491 United States dollars,” disclosed the minister.

Ms Kapata stressed that the honey produced in Zambia is of high quality on the international market and added that they is already a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Government and waiting for BRE to append it’s signature.

And Western Province Minister Richard Kapita said the numerous visits cabinet ministers are making in the province is a clear indication of Government’s commitment to working in collaboration with traditional leaders.

The Baroste Royal Establishment (BRE) Kaunga mashi Palace private secretary Induna Akafuma Nasilele Mushe said the traditional leadership has pledged to work with government in fighting illegal tree harvesting.

More than 27 thousand hectares of forest land is lost every year to activities of illegal harvesting of forests in the country.

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