Munesu Nyakudya Business Reporter
THERE is need to curb deforestation to mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure sustained economic development, director in Water and Climate Ministry Mr Washington Zhakata has said.

He said deforestation statistics were alarming as the country has lost 300 000 hectares of forest land in the past few years especially in rural and communal areas.

Mr Zhakata was speaking at the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) workshop, a United Nations strategy aimed at creating financial value for the carbon stored in forests to lure investors to invest in forest conversation.

He cited the current rolling power cuts and increase in tobacco farming as some of the major reasons causing deforestation. Most tobacco farmers are using firewood to cure their crop as they cannot afford coal, the traditional source of fuel.

The rolling power cuts have also resulted in many people venturing into firewood selling business and this resulted in wanton cutting down of trees.

Mr Zhakata said the Government was working with non-governmental organisations to deal with the problem.

“The Government has not been sitting back but has been working towards reducing deforestation,” Mr Zhakata said.

“The ministry and Food and Agriculture Organisation received a grand of $105 000 from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to carry out the REDD+ Country Needs Assessments project to contribute to the REDD+ development and come up with a framework for climate change adjustments,” he added.

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