ZAFFICO to lose 75% of timber plantation to mininig by foreigners

Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO)
Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO)

THE Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO) will  lose at least 75 per cent of the multi million Kwacha Mwelushi timber Plantation in Lufwanyama District, due to massive mining activities by foreign investors.
Zambia National Association of Sawmillers (ZNAS) has since appealed to Government to review  the mining project taking place in the area to give ZAFFICO a harvesting window period.
ZNAS secretary general William Bwalya said the bulk of land taken by mining investors is huge and will drastically affect the timber and construction industries
ZAFFICO has since lost about 1,000 hectares of  the plantation  in Kitwe and Mufulira which has been opened up for mining activities.
Mr Bwalya said, due to growing mining activities in the area, the life span of the Mwelushi plantations will reduce by more than ten years.
“ZAFFICO will be losing about 75 per cent of the Mwelushi Plantations in Lufwanyama to foreign investors who are commencing mining operations meaning that, where the plantation lifespan was expected to be fifteen years it will now reduce to merely five years or below,” he said.
Already ZAFFICO has lost a total of 1,000 hectares in Kitwe and between Mufulira and Ndola Road due to the opening of new mines in these areas.
“In view of this development, ZNAS is appealing to Government not to rush the investor into gaining possession of the said land but instead give ZAFFICO a harvesting window period of a reasonable time frame so that they maintain course on sustainable round wood harvesting and supplies,” Mr Bwalya said.
He said the current plantation forest inventory findings have revealed a decline in yield from plantations  with a current standing stock of 6.5 million cubic meters which will only last  for less than 15 years if no remedial steps  of growing more trees is taken.
Mr Bwalya said dependence on ZAFFICO alone with dwindling stocks for raw materials is like trying to walk on quick sand and Government should support the green jobs programme by extending support to the private sector interested in growing plantations.