Chief Mumena of the Kaonde speaking people in Solwezi has issued a decree against indiscriminate cutting down of trees in his chiefdom as a measure to address the high rate of deforestation.
Chief Mumena said deforestation in the chiefdom has reached alarming levels and if the situation is not regulated now the area risks losing its means of survival.
Chief Mumena issued the decree in Solwezi when he addressed his subjects at Mutanda yesterday.
He said consequences of deforestation on his subjects will be unbearable once the eco system is disturbed in the area.
He warned his subjects to stop commercial charcoal production saying that it was one of the major contributing factors to indiscriminate cutting down of trees.
Chief Mumena said anyone who will be found producing charcoal for sell will be chased out of the chiefdom.
He said the Royal establishment has appointed community leaders in all areas in the chiefdom to ensure the order is followed.
The Royal Establishment chairperson, Jackson Kakoma urged the people to venture into productive activities that will not be in conflict with the chief’s order because charcoal selling is alien in Kaonde land.
Mr Kakoma said the chiefdom has lost a lot of trees in recent years due to charcoal production and massive land clearing for mine operations hence the measure to regulate the practice.
The Royal Establishment has appealed to the department of forestry to work with the community leaders to regulate charcoal production in the chiefdom.
And speaking on behalf of the charcoal producers Evans Kayula said the practice was retrogressive but was one of the ways of earning an income .
Mr. Kayula said the charcoal business has become profitable in the area as the customers are from outside Solwezi district.