$8k fine for deforesters

Source: $8k fine for deforesters | The Herald 01 AUG, 2019

$8k fine for deforesters

Sallomy Matare Herald Reporter
Mhondoro-Ngezi Rural District Council has resolved to recommend the withdrawal of offer letters to farmers who allow charcoal making and deforestation on their farms.

According to Mhondoro-Ngezi full council minutes in possession of The Herald, the council will recommend the move to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.

“Council resolved that a recommendation be made to the Ministry of lands to cancel offer letters for farmers involved in deforestation and charcoal making,” read the minutes.

The district council also resolved to hike fees for villagers who cut down trees for charcoal to resale.

Deforestation culprits are headed for a rude awakening as the council has also imposed an $8 000 maximum fine for such acts. The imposition of the stiff penalty follows reports of massive deforestation occurring in wards 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 where firewood poachers are targeting mainly Mopani trees.

The trees make high quality charcoal that is then sold in urban centres, mostly in Harare.

According to the minutes, the council resolved that, “A possession of five tonnes and below of illegally attained charcoal will attract a fine of $6 000, while $8 000 will be for above five tonnes.” The local authorities also introduced a disposal fee which will be charged per bag. “$70 RTGS will be charged for five bags and above, $35 RTGS will be charged for four bags counting down,” read the minutes.