LIFT the ban on the export of logs so as to encourage transparency in the export of mukula, Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute
executive director Chance Kabaghe has told the Parliamentary Committee on agriculture, land and natural resources.
Kabaghe says forests in Zambia are under threat with deforestation rates estimated between 167,000 and 300,000 per hectare annually.
According to a bi-monthly bulletin made available by IAPRI outreach director Ballard Zulu, Kabaghe told the parliamentary committee that
timber is the main direct product of the forests and annual timber exports mainly from sawn timber were estimated at about 8,000 cubic
metres and made a number of recommendations to improve the management of the forestry sector.
“It is estimated that about 110,000 m3 of Mukula is produced per year. However, there has been a surge in the exports of Mukula tree since 2012 and most of it is exported to China…there are large discrepancies between the quantities reported as exports from Zambia and quantities recorded as imports in recipient countries… (recommendations): (i) The development and enactment of an energy Act that will regulate charcoal production and trade in a manner similar to the way Statutory Instrument No. 11 of 2018 provides guidance for community forest
management,” he said.
“(ii) Lift the ban on the export of logs so as to encourage transparency in the export of Mukula. This would enable the government to earn revenue from export permits and licensing. (iii) Regulate trade in Mukula to enable local community where these resources are
extracted to benefit the economy. This would require taking stock of what Mukula species are there and where, and designing effective
resource management plans that include local communities; and, (iii) Given the pace at which Mukula is extracted, it may be prudent for the
government to consider registering Mukula in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to which Zambia is a signatory.”
Kabaghe said Zambia’s forest cover had reduced from the highs of 71 per cent in 1990 to 65 per cent in 2015, with the decline expected to continue into the foreseeable future.
“Forests in Zambia are under threat with deforestation rates estimated between 167,000 and 300,000 per hectare, representing 0.3 to 0.6 per
cent of the total forest cover per year, which is among the highest in the world,” he said.
“The main drivers of deforestation include agricultural land expansion, unsustainable agricultural practices, infrastructure, and
mining developments and urbanisation. However, charcoal is the main driver of forest cover loss especially in areas close to urban centres as a result of the high demand from urban areas.”
Kabaghe said 51.33 per cent and 16 per cent of households use firewood, charcoal, and electricity respectively as main sources of energy in
Zambia with 85 per cent of rural households depending on firewood.
“Forest loss threatens to erode nearly 5.5 per cent potential contribution of forests to national income, engendering climate change
and that the loss might be higher for poor rural households who derive 22 per cent of their household incomes from the forest,” said Kabaghe.