Farmer's Voice

Zimbabwe: Mashonaland West Province To Get WWF Grant To Prevent Deforestation

The Mashonaland West Provincein Zimbabwe is expected to receive a three-year US$ 600,000 grant from the World Wide Fund to curb deforestation and environmental degradation caused by tobacco growers who use wood to cure their crop.  Dr Enos Shumba, country director of WWF, said the agency decided to focus on the Province since it was losing large tracts of forests due to leaf curing activities.

As part of the program, WWF will provide seedlings, encourage farmers to use rocket barns that use a smaller amount of firewood for curing, support field-based conservation efforts, and provide oversight and technical support for the field-based programs. Abednigo Marufu, deputy managing director of the Forestry Commission, said the commission is conducting research programs to support the forest industry. The commission estimates thatZimbabweis losing an average of330,000 hectaresof forest cover each year, with tobacco curing accounting for 15% of the loss (Herald - Harare 6/6).