Adopt wood-saving technology — Govt

Locadia Mavhudzi Midlands correspondent
THE Forestry Commission is failing to control deforestation as more people resort to firewood in the absence of electricity.

Urban communities across Gweru are now relying on nearby farms and smallholder plots for firewood.

A snap survey by The Herald revealed that an average of 20 scotch carts of firewood land into Mkoba high-density suburb each morning drawn from farms around Lower Gweru and Matobo roads.

The ZESA electricity schedule has been tightened in a manner that makes some areas endure up to 18 hours without power.

This has forced urban dwellers to resort to firewood because other alternatives like gas and paraffin are expensive.

Forestry Commission Midlands provincial forest manager Mr Roderick Nyahwai said the illegal use of firewood in Gweru was getting out of hand.

“Yes, we have been conducting regular firewood raids, but apparently it is getting out of hand,” he said.

“We are incapacitated due to lack of transport. We are supposed to confiscate all firewood fetched illegally but our vehicles are small. We actually need a UD truck so that we can raid effectively.”

Mr Nyahwai said his organisation was compelled by the Forest Act and Statutory Instrument 116 of 2012 to control forest produce.

“We are guided by the Forest Act as well as statutory instrument 116 of 2012 to control firewood, timber and any forest produce.

“Any person willing to trade forest products should obtain a licence from us,” he said.

Mr Nyahwai said they had so far confiscated around 150 loads of firewood this winter.

He said the fine for unlawful possession of firewood stands at $20.

Mr Nyahwai said people should adopt wood saving technologies such as tsotso stove, while in the long term they are working on introducing biogas energy to the urban dwellers.

“We are currently looking for partners to sponsor training programmes on the construction of biogas digesters which can be adopted in urban settings,” he said.

“Meanwhile, people must adopt wood saving technology such as tsotso stove.”

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