Forestry Department cracks down on illegal charcoal, timber transport business


The Forestry Department has impounded six trucks transporting charcoal and two trucks transporting timber along Mumbwa Road.

Minister of Green Economy and Environment, Collins Nzovu, stated that the confiscated charcoal would be seized, and the owners would be fined.

In a statement issued in Lusaka on Saturday, Nzovu said government was looking for more stringent fines, fees and possibilities of auctioning the vessels carrying the charcoal as a deterrent measure.

Read More: Charcoal merchants warned, as govt moves to protect forestry resources

Furthermore, the minister warned forestry officers that had continued issuing permits despite the ban, and urged them to immediately stop.

The minister had last month directed the director forestry to immediately stop the issuance of Cord Wood Permits for the production of charcoal in Itezhi-tezhi, Mumbwa and Shibuyunji Districts.

“One of the trucks you are seeing here has a valid permit, which was issued after the ban. We want to send a very strong warning that our officers will be disciplined if they don’t follow the ban,” Nzovu added.

He urged all forest officers to obey the ban on charcoal production.

“I have just directed the Director Forestry to discipline officers who are not following the ban,” he said.

He also Nzovu noted that officers from Chibombo District were issuing cord wood permits and warned that they too would be punished.

He said the penalties when a truck was found full with charcoal go as high as K15,000, with confiscation of the charcoal and later auctioning of commodity.

“We are very determined to enforce this ban. We don’t believe charcoal is the alternative to the energy deficit we are currently experiencing. We are currently experiencing drought because of severe deforestation so we can’t allow charcoal production to go ahead unregulated,” he stated.

Alternatively, the minister said government was promoting the use of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) which is available, safe and affordable.

Nzovu stressed that gas was an alternative and cost effective source of energy and encouraged Zambians to start using other means in place of charcoal.

“We should put charcoal aside and start looking for other solutions. We want to promote solar use. Consequences of continuing using charcoal are severe,” he said.

He said his ministry would continue hunting for people who were not observing the ban.

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