Zambia loses 300,000 hectares of forest annually-Kapeya

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Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister Mwansa Kapeya has disclosed that Zambia loses about 300,000 hectares of forests every year.

Mr. Kapeya said the rate at which the country’s forests are depleting due to illegal cutting of trees was worrying.

He said government was therefore putting up tangible measures towards addressing the situation.

He said government was working towards improving the forest management through forest plantation development and encouraging the processing of various non-wood forest products such as honey.

Mr. Kapeya said this would contribute to job creation and national economic development.

The minister said this during the commemoration of the 2014 International Forest Day whose theme was "trees pleasant for the sight and good for food".

Mr. Kapeya further said government was revising the national forestry policy of 1998 and the forest act of 1973 in an effort to facilitate effective and efficient service delivery of the
forestry sector.

And Speaking at the same function, Community Based Natural Resources Management Forum Representative Charles Masange said it was sad that about 80 percent of people in the country were leaving in abject poverty despite the country being endowed with abundant natural resources.

Mr. Masange said government should equip the forestry department with transport in order for it to conduct patrols and prevent the smuggling of trees such as the mukula.