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Staff shortage hurts Neno’s forestry efforts

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Neno District Forestry Office says shortage of forestry personnel is one of the major factors hampering the fight against wanton cutting of trees in the district.

Speaking in Kandzandi Village in the area of Traditional Authority Symon during a tree planting exercise by TNM, Neno District Forestry Officer Emmanuel Ngwangwa said shortage of forestry workers is highly contributing to deforestation.

“Neno is one of the districts that are heavily hit by deforestation. This is mainly due to the cutting down of trees for charcoal production which is a hot business that is being fueled by poverty.

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“We have very few forestry staff such that we fail to apprehend many of the people who are indulging in cutting down trees for charcoal burning,” said Ngwangwa.

He added that charcoal burning is rampant due to the proximity of the district with the commercial city of Blantyre where the demand for the charcoal is high.

“As you know Neno is very close to Blantyre which is the main market for charcoal; so people flock to Neno to cut down trees for charcoal and sell it to the city,” he said.

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The forestry office has since urged authorities to consider increasing the number of workers to ensure effective patrolling in the district to curb careless cutting down of trees.

Despite the challenge on the ground, the forestry office in the district said it is working tirelessly to safeguard trees from charcoal burning.

“As a district we are concerned with deforestation such that we are taking several initiatives to bring back the lost forests. Some of the initiatives are planting trees and promoting nature regeneration where trees are cut,” added Ngwangwa.

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