Saturday, March 4, 2017

Sale of wood and charcoal banned till further notice-Minister

THE government has finally banned with immediate effect exportation of wood and charcoal after its campaign to restore forestation never honoured as wanton tree felling continues unabatedly with exporters not adhering to cut-one plant-two policy. The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, announced the new directives on Friday this week saying that commercial exploitation of wood had already overlapped the annual allowable cut threatening sustainability of forest and nature in the country. “From now onwards no one is allowed to cut and transport wood or charcoal outside the district of origin,” Prof Maghembe directed the Tanzanian Forest Service (TFS), a semi-autonomous government Executive Agency mandated to manage the national forest reserves. “We cannot allow deforestation to continue.” Study has shown the country’s commercial city - Dar es Salaam consumes nearly 70 per cent of all the charcoal produced in the country. But the Minister believes less than 30 percent is used in the city and the rest is exported to Asia through Zanzibar and porous Indian Ocean illegal ports. On Wood, the Minister says it’s high time all wood related production be commissioned where the trees are cut. This will create jobs and add to the national gross domestic products. “There is no need to export woods. These are raw materials and we need them for our industries ... businessmen interested in wood industry should set up their factories at the forest and export fine-made furniture.” He has however directed TSF officials to collaborate with district commissioners who are the district security committee chairpersons in supervising the execution of the directive. Tanzania is witnessing environmental burdens as a result of excessive tree cutting. It includes loss of forest cover yielding to soil and water source degradation, disruption in rainfall patterns and draughts. Prof Maghembe says Dar es Salaam Region can in the meantime depend on charcoal produced from Rufiji, Kisarawe and Ruvu. “There is no need to import charcoal from outside this region.” TFS Chief Executive Officer, Prof Dos Santos Silayo, revealed that the country loses 370,000 ha of forest per year. This means Tanzania ought to a loss of 3.7million ha in the next ten years. In the current exploitation of this important natural resource, its sustainability is severely challenged and the whole concept of the forest being renewable is questionable, he said. He was optimistic that the council meeting in Dodoma could develop best approach to effectively prevent transportation and exportation of wood and charcoal outside the district boundaries. 

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