from ANESUSHE MAMHUTE in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe
CHIREDZI, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWEAN authorities have arrested some 100 people during a crackdown against illegal trade of firewood from the under-threat mopane tree.
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has partnered with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and also Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) to address the crisis most prevalent southeast of the country.
The arrests were made during July and the current month of August.
“We are working day and night to ensure that the mopane, which is being recklessly cut down and sold as firewood, is safeguarded,” said EMA chairperson for Chiredzi district, Abel Mugodhi.
“There is however need for other stakeholders to participate in the sustainable conservation of our land because we cannot solve this problem alone,” Mugodhi added.
The cutting down of the mopane tree is attributed to the power shortages experienced by Chiredzi residents.
However, there is a thriving market in the capital Harare, which is bearing the brunt of power outages.
Mopane is a multi-purpose tree used for building material, tool handles, charcoal and carvings as well as medicine.
Jonathan Mpamombe, Chiredzi Residents Association chairperson, urged EMA to embark on an information dissemination campaign to curb the destruction of the tree.
Environmental expert, Nyasha Goredema, said information on the importance of mopane tree in sustaining the people’s livelihood was limited.
“People who dwell in the Southern region can extensively benefit from harvesting mopane worms in order to supplement their diet,” Goredema said.
“Mopane worms can also be traded to generate income. Its trade provides good income revenue,” Goredema added.
– CAJ News