BY NHAU MANGIRAZI
Hurungwe traditional leaders have challenged government to ensure that tobacco companies plant indigenous trees to mitigate climate change.
Chief Chundu, born Abel Mbasera, told Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka that traditional leaders were not happy at the “blindfolding attitude” exhibited by tobacco companies.
At least 14 tobacco merchants are based in the Karoi farming town and this has fuelled cutting down of trees by mostly contracted farmers in both communal and resettlement areas.
Chief Chundu, who is also a senator, said replacing traditional trees with gum trees was unjust.
“We don’t want these gum trees as they affect our water tables and it’s a cause of concern,” he said.
“We are giving you our order as traditional leaders from Hurungwe and the whole country. In your capacity as minister and Hurungwe West Member of Parliament please summon the tobacco companies to your office before it is too late as we have lost so many of trees around the country,’’ he said.
Mliswa-Chikoka challenged tobacco farmers to engage in tree planting as a “hobby to mitigate the impact of climate change on the rainfall patterns and food security in the region”.
She said she would act as tobacco had affected natural vegetation.
“Government is also concerned about diminishing forests and calls for indigenous trees replacement are a valid argument from our traditional leaders that we will consider for action,’’ Mliswa-Chikoka said.
“Tree planting must be done at family and community levels so that our forests can be rejuvenated.”