The government says it will use the national tree planting programme to fight poverty in the rural areas.
The deputy minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Dr. Mutaba Mwali said the PF government remains committed to providing employment in order to effectively tackle poverty.
Dr. Mwali said the national tree planting programme is an ambitious one which government wants to use to serve the environment while at the same time providing employment especially to the rural population of Zambia.
The deputy minister urged the community to participate in the national tree planting programme to enhance a sense of ownership and make the forestry sector economically viable.
“It is evident that something positive is being done by the government and as the programme progresses, more and more people are going to be employed,” Dr. Mwali said.
He said the government is using the programme as a vehicle towards job creation for the rural communities especially in places like Luapula province where the main source of income fish has drastically dwindled in stock.
“Through the national tree planting programme, the government wants to simultaneously embrace a people centered sustainable management of the environment and cushion the poverty levels among the rural households,” the deputy minister said.
Dr. Mali said this when he toured Kapweshi forestry plantation in Mwansabombwe district of Luapula province yesterday.
He said the forestry sector must be seen beyond the provision of timber to providing alternative sources of income to the rural dwellings.
However, the deputy minister admitted that there is urgent need to address some bottlenecks within the system in order to achieve the set targets.
Dr Mwali observed that infrastructure has remained under developed while some districts lack support services such as transport and other related implements.
Dr. Mwali said it is unfortunate that the forestry sector has been neglected and funding has been erratic but added that the government is working round the clock to change this trend and ensure sanity is restored.