—Eastern Province Deputy Permanent Secretary (DPS), Zachariah Luhanga, has commended the Forestry Department for successfully conducting the National Forestry Inventory (NFI) for Eastern Province.
Mr Luhanga said the NFI done under the Integrated Land Use Assessment (ILUAII) Project in the Forestry Department under the Ministry of Lands will assist the country have accurate statistics with regard forest and land.
Speaking at the decommissioning ceremony of the NFI teams for the province held at Luangwa House in Chipata, Mr Luhanga said with accurate statistics, the country will be able to plan properly and be able to address the issues affecting the nation.
Mr Luhanga further said for the statistics to be accurate the country is dependent on people’s attitude and mentality towards work.
He noted that conclusion of the works did not come easily as the team had to sacrifice by sleeping in places which were hostile, adding that the kind of dedication is what the country needs to move forward.
The DPS stated that the provincial administration is more than ready to assist the department whenever officers carry out the noble task.
Mr Luhanga has, however, requested the department and the general public to assist in reducing the cutting down of the Mukula tree in the region as posterity will judge the current generation harshly.
He said the region has taken the fight against the cutting of Mukula trees to another level, saying the region has not found it easy because people are busy cutting trees and collect the logs in the night.
The DPS stated that the sad part is that not only forest officers are involved but also from the security wings.
Mr Luhanga said government will not spare anyone regardless of the status and political affiliation who will be caught in the cutting of trees.
He said other means will be used to forfeit the trucks impounded carrying the Mukula logs unlike using the Forest law which is weak considering that the same culprits end up buying the same confiscated logs when they are auctioned.
“You have been using the Forest Act which is very week when someone’s truck is impounded he is just requested to pay K2,000 and buy the auctioned logs,” he added.
And speaking at the same function, ILUAII National Project Coordinator, Bwalya Chendauka, stated that the ILUAII Project is conducting the NFI to determine the current status of the biophysical, vegetation and soils composition of the country required for biannual reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Mr Chendauka stated that the project was funded by Finland and also supported by Food and Agricultural Organization.
He stated that the project, which was commissioned in 2010, had the first field wok commence in North-Western Province in 2012.
He said this year, the project trained some field teams to conduct the NFI in Lusaka, Cooperbelt and Eastern Provinces and that the exercise has been completed hence the decommissioning and honour the members that took part in the assessment.