|Veld fires deal Forestry Commission a blow|
|Monday, 16 July 2012 10:28|
THE Forestry Commission has since 2005 lost 12 percent of its seed orchards for special plantation species to veld fires.
Forestry Commission seed physiologist Mr Mduduzi Tembani made the revelations at the Zimbabwe College of Forestry and Forest Industries Training Centre Open Day in Mutare recently.
“Our seed centres currently distribute 500kg of seed for plantation species every year but we would like to see this increasing by 80 percent come the year 2016 with production also rising by 130 percent for some key species by the same year.
He added that since 2007 above 280kg of seed had been distributed locally while export markets have accounted for 21kg only.
There was need, Mr Tembani said, for the establishment of more seed orchards every year, preferably at the rate of four per year while more funding was also needed for the recapitalisation of research stations to boost their capacity to produce new competitive varieties.
Mr Tembani also cited high dependency on labour intensive production methods as one of their biggest letdowns.
Speaking at the same occasion, Allied Timbers Group chief executive Dr Joseph Kanyekanye said valuation of forests in Zimbabwe was limited — a situation that saw their contribution to the Gross Domestic Product not being recognised.
“There is need for proper valuation methods and a practical framework to determine the true value of forests to allow the country to enjoy the revenue that is generated by the industry.
“Allied Timbers have even valued their trees at US$10 per cubic metre for a standing tree while the Wattle Forests have their value at US$25 per cubic metre per tree with Border Timbers quoting US$45 per cubic metre for a standing tree,” said Dr Kanyekanye.
He also said there was need for more research on the possibility of using value of processed timber to determine the value of forests.
One of the students, Golden Matimba, said the production of hybrid seed required heavy capital investment, which made it critical for policymakers and the colleges to source adequate financial resources towards the cause.