Tobacco industry destroys bio-diversity

via Tobacco industry destroys bio-diversity – The Zimbabwean 3.9.2015

The tobacco industry is costing the nation its bio-diversity as farmers are clearing huge tracts of natural habitat, an environmental expert said.

Banarbas Mawire, the director of Environment Africa Zimbabwe, described the destruction as a massive cost to the nation.  “The rate at which forests are regenerating is very low and at this rate we will end up losing in terms of biodiversity,” Mawire said during a forest Indaba held here recently.
Zimbabwe’s thriving tobacco industry is reportedly burning off over half a million cubic metres of fire wood in its curing barns every year, according to Timber Producers’ Federation (TPF).
The Forestry Commission (FC) noted that tobacco production accounted for 20 percent of the country’s 350 000 hectare loss of forests annually. “Tobacco is not being grown sustainably,  but there will come a time in future that if you don’t have a woodlot you won’t be allowed to sell your tobacco,” said  FC Deputy General Manager Abednigo Marufu.
TPF former board chairperson, Dr Joseph Kanyekanye, said that  all local commercial timber producers combined could not meet the fuel demands even if they were to supply all they produced – 600 000 m3 annually.
He said with the tobacco industry now depleting Zimbabwe’s natural forests they were hoping to cash in on the lucrative industry by introducing woodlots across the main tobacco growing regions, with the potential of earning them between $8 – 12 million annually.


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    Dear Director of Environment Africa. Either you have been enlisted by the anti smoking lobby or you are failing to do you job. Tobacco farming is a success story in Zimbabwe. Your agency is charged with protecting the environment more so than the farmers. It is what you are paid to do. It irks me when a Zimbo wannabee casually throws a coke can or such on the floor but wrinkles his nose everytime a smoker lights up! Smikong may take five minutes off my life with each cigarette but that empty can you high and mighty anti smokers throw on the floor will be there long after your own sugar loaded fat bodies are dead and buried…eaten by the worms. Get your priorites right Mr Director. Tobacco is Zimbabwes lifeblood. 7 out of every 10 dollars made in this country is somehow connected to the trade. Besides, like most hypocrites, your mom and dad are probable farming the crop righ now in the rural areas. Get your priorities right. We never hear of SAUDI officials telling the world that oil is ruining the planet…GET A LIFE.