Deforestation now a serious threat

via ‘Deforestation now a serious threat’ | The Financial Gazette by Nelson Chenga 12 Dec 2013

EVERY year Zimbabwe is losing tree cover equivalent to three times the size of Harare, the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe (FCZ) has revealed.

While the majority of trees are being felled for domestic use, a sizeable chunk of that vegetation is being consumed by tobacco farmers whose numbers have phenomenally rose over the past few years as the golden leaf remains the country’s only commercially viable crop on the back of a poorly performing agricultural sector.“The national rate of deforestation currently stands at more than 300 000 hectares per annum, of which approximately 15 percent is attributable to tobacco production activities (that include) land clearing for tobacco farming and collection of firewood for tobacco curing,” said Darlington Duwa, FCZ general manager, at a tree planting day event in Madziwa, Mashonaland Central on Saturday.

Simplified, the 300 000ha is equivalent to 3 000 square kilometres or three times the size of Harare, which is estimated to be covering an area just over 1 000 square kilometres.

Given the gravity of the matter, the Minister for Environment, Water and Climate, Saviour Kasukuwere, expressed grave concern at the rate of deforestation and said this had actually prompted government to institute statutory instrument 116 of 2012 that compels all flue-cured tobacco farmers to establish fast growing tree species for their future energy needs.

“Forests have a paramount contribution to make as engines of future sustainable development,” Kasukuwere emphasised adding: “Establishment of these woodlots will reduce pressure on the country’s indigenous woodlands and give them time to regenerate and recover.”

This year the tree planting day, annually set for every first Saturday of December, was commemorated under the theme: Forests for water and life.



  • comment-avatar
    Johann 10 years ago

    Saviour Kasukuwere. How fast does a tree have to grow so as to ensure sustainable tobacco production using wood as the curing fuel!? Get real

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    mark longhurst 10 years ago

    like most things there has been no forward thinking in Zim and to say this is ‘now’ a crisis shows the lack of respect for africas soil that these’fathers ‘ pretend to have , this has been a cris for 20 years now and no one has done anything about it!!

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    Ban tobacco growing if they cannot use coal!! It is a drug anyway and if anyone is hooked on smoking and cannot quit they should know. Grow crops that feed the country.

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    Harper 10 years ago

    Deforestation and lack of soil conservation measures in Zimbabwe has caused death and destruction from flooding downstream in Mozambique.
    The first willing buyer willing seller farms settled in the early 1980s are now bare rock. So now, of course, those settled want more land elsewhere. Sell the firewood and move on. Erosion Continua!

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    Mena Bona 10 years ago

    Under ZANU PF more damage has been inflected on the flora and fauna of Zimbabwe than at any time in that countries history. Everything for now and stuff the future. This is their mentality. They should be charged with, ” Crimes against the Planet ” No better than locusts. If one left a primate locked locked in a house for a week, it could not do more damage than they have done to that country. Our poor fragile planet in the hands of thieving, self enriching oxygen thieves that do not deserve to walk our planet!

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    Michael 10 years ago

    The Zimbabweans mentality is just like the Zanu-pf mentality, and that is always about something for nothing. Take Take Take, never giving anything back, GREED is Zimbabwe’s nemesis.

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    Mr Mixed Race 10 years ago

    What are real root causes of this crisis? China is the root cause because they want cheap tobacco from our small scale farmers.If the curing inputs are high the tobacco prices will be high-the Chinese will not buy because they want cheap things.The minister is so naive in his approach to this crisis,he thinks by planting fast growing trees he can address this problem.Surely, you cannot get much firewood from a 5 year old tree,therefore his assessment is terribly wrong or he is so ignorant of how trees grow.The only possible short term solution is to go for coal curing regardless its cost.

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    Khaya'bonina 10 years ago

    This Kasukuwere Saviour , i wonder whether he is the minister of Environment for Mashonland Central or he is the minister of the whole country , you can’t just consider a certain portion in one region , identify that regional problem and then you just consider and declare it as a national problem , he must travel around the whole country and do a proper audit before raising minor issues as crisis , if he had nothing to say to the people of Mashonaland Central he was supposed to zip off his month , just four months on the seat he has never travelled to other provinces to prove his little mind pertaining deforestration , ministers of ZANU PF is always a shame that their services are regional instead of being national , when is he coming to Matebeland .

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    Manuchi 10 years ago

    You got to find a solution to beat the pollution with a revolution …………lol.

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    […] to Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe (FCZ), every year Zimbabwe is losing tree cover equivalent to three times the size of Harare. […]

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    Melford 8 years ago

    im an environmental impact assesment student….in my opinion i give the agrarian policy makers the blame because they are not being custodians of the ecology when they leave illinformed fast-track resettled farmer do unmonitored unsustainable farming of tobacco…with market profit only in mind….im really grieving