Government has called for a commercial partnership between the Forestry Department and the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO).
Minister of Green Economy and Environment, Collins Nzovu, made the call during a visit to the ZAFFICO Kawambwa Plantation in Luapula Province on Monday.
Nzovu expressed worry that there was a lot of timber getting into the country from East Africa yet the country had potential to produce timber for internal utilization.
“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,” he said.
Nzovu said ZAFFICO was partly owned by government and should, therefore, leverage on the Scientific Research Unit which had 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.
Plantation Manager, Rabia Ali, said ZAFFICO had taken a step to import seedlings which would 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.
Luapula Provincial Forestry Officer, Stephen Katongo, assured the Minister that the department would actualise the consolidated plan that had already been developed for rubber.
Katongo said this was going to spur 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.
He said the office would also provide space for income generating activities such as carbon resource management and apiculture activities.
“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 Katongo.
WARNING! All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express permission from ZAMBIA MONITOR.