Kawambwa, Monday 31st July, 2023 –
Minister of Green Economy and Environment Hon. Eng. Collins Nzovu MP has called for a commercial partnership between the Forestry Department and the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO).
During a visit to the ZAFFICO Kawambwa Plantation, Hon. Nzovu expressed worry that there was alot of timber getting into the country from East Africa yet the country has potential to produce timber for internal utilization.
Hon. Nzovu and a team of officers from the Forestry Department, the Zambia Meteorological Department and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency are in Luapula Province to inspect and monitor forest reserves, illegal harvesting of timber, mining and Meteorological stations.
Hon. Nzovu said ZAFFICO was partly owed by Government and should therefore, leverage on the Scientific Research Unit which has the technical know – how in forestry.
He said he believed that ZAFFICO was strategically placed to fill the timber market and urged them to upscale.
ZAFFICO Plantation Manager Ms. Rabia Ali said ZAFFICO has taken a step to import seedlings which will enable the corporation produce their own seedlings locally thereby reducing the cost of inputs in which every year, the corporation plants 5,000 hectares of trees.
Hon. Nzovu also visited the rubber plantation in Nchelenga District owed by Government and was not impressed with what he found.
He said the nursery needed to be expanded to increase the hectarage.
Hon. Nzovu urged the District Forestry Office to buy into the vision of the Government so that investment opportunities can be presented and employment created for the people.
He said the way the district was working was unacceptable and implored the District Office to ensure the boundaries of the plantation are known.
Luapula Provincial Forestry Officer Mr. Stephen Katongo assured the Honourable Minister that the department will actualise the consolidated plan that has already been developed for rubber so as to spur the employment creation for the people of Nchelenge District as well as provide a great opportunity for rural development given the long economical life of rubber.
The Provincial Forestry Officer said the office would also provide space for income generating activities such Carbon Resource management and apiculture actictivies.
“The department will remap the area so as to determine the extent of land available for rubber plantation and the areas that have been encroached and move to lobby for more land from the traditional leaders in the area to expand on the existing hectarage,” said Mr Katongo.