Tobacco Wood Energy programme launched

By ZBC Reporter
GOVERNMENT has launched the Tobacco Wood Energy programme in Manicaland province where at least 30 million trees will be planted this year to curb deforestation.
With the rate of deforestation out-pacing reforestation programmes, government through the Forestry Commission has launched the Tobacco Wood Energy Programme in Manicaland to arrest the tide that is slowly turning the once big forests into deserts.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch in Makoni district on Friday, Forestry Commission general manager Abednigo Marufu highlighted the modalities that have been put in place to ensure the success of the programme.
“We are happy that the Tobacco Wood Energy programme has been launched in Manicaland province. We are targeting all tobacco-producing provinces to plant as many trees as they grow tobacco. We have a budget of 185 million which we got from the government’s safforestation fund and we want all of the money to be used for planting trees. We aim to plant over 30 million trees this year,” he said.
Headlands legislator Cde Christopher Chingosho says the programme will arrest the alarming levels of deforestation in Makoni District.
“The launch of the programme is important in Makoni district as deforestation has greatly affected the area that now lacks trees. Tree planting will help local tobacco farmers to be able to cure their produce,” he said.
Launching the tree planting programme in Makoni District, Minister of State for Manicaland province Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba underscored the need for communities to embrace the noble project.
“Devolution calls for inclusivity hence the need for all people to take the tree planting initiative seriously. The rate at which we are planting trees is slow hence we need to fast-track the process. There is a need for people and schools and the communities to focus on producing seedlings as it is big business. Tree planting is everyone’s responsibility,” she said.
Zimbabwe is losing at least 330 000 hectares of forests every year due to deforestation, hence the urgent need for more reforestation programmes.