Timber industry faces crisis

timber Mongu
 Land, Natural Resources and Environment Protection Deputy minister Mwali Mutaba says Zambia is facing a crisis in timber production forcing the nation to import from outside especially ZESCO poles.

Dr Mwali said in Kabwe today that this is as a result of the nation failing to take tree planting programs seriously in the past.

He was speaking in Kabwe at the provincial administration when he met Deputy Provincial Permanent Secretary Ronald Sinyangwe who stood in for the Provincial Minister Philip Kosamu.

Dr Mwali who is Deputy Minister in charge of natural resources, said the crisis could be seen from most industries that deal in timber who complain that there is inadequate raw materials in terms of trees to satisfy the industry.

He said the situation will be worse in future because in the past, the nation neglected tree planting by not expanding the plantations.

Dr Mwali who toured Mpima Forestry Nursery said he was happy with the way the preparations for the national tree planting programme was going on in Central province.

The Deputy Minister however said the PF government is seriously attaching great importance to the tree planting programmes such as the national tree program coming this December.

He said Central province was given a target of raising 1, 550, 000 tree seedlings which should be ready for planting this December adding that government intends to put up 1,000 hactares of trees in the province.

He said he was pleased that the province is on target to meet the expected goal because so far 1, 400, 000 seedlings have been raised while already 250, 000 pots have been filled with soil in readiness to plant tree seeds.

Dr Mwali however expressed concern at the non-availability of seed noting that the research stations that were expected to supply the much needed seed were allegedly failing to do so.

He commended forestry department officials in the province for dedicating themselves to ensure the seedlings were raised though under difficult conditions.

And Deputy provincial Permanent Secretary Ronald Sinyangwe appealed for support from the ministry by funding provincial forestry offices so that they can propagate the much needed seedlings.

Mr Sinyangwe said waiting for research institutions to supply the seeds would delay the whole exercise and thereby derailing the programme.

He further said the province will fail to meet the target if the money for seed is not released to provinces.

Mr Sinyangwe said the role of researchers in this programme should only be to monitor and ensure that forestry officers were doing the right thing and not to supply seed.

Mr Sinyangwe however said he was optimistic that Central province will be able to meet its target going by the commitments and dedication from officers.