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Allied Timbers loses 958 ha timber in 2023

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Allied Timbers loses 958 ha timber in 2023

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MARTIN MULEYA

CHIPINGE TIMES REPORTER

MUTARE – State owned Allied Timbers lost 958 hectares of timber in Mutasa district to veld fires alone in 2023 alone, company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Remigio Nenzou has bemoaned.

He told a luncheon organised by his company last Friday and attended by Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Misheck Mugadza and chiefs in Mutare that the statistics are giving them sleepless nights. Allied Timbers has more than 10 estates in Manicaland, Midlands and Matabeleland provinces. The company lost 343 ha in Chisengu, 178ha in Gwendigwe, 200ha in Tandai, 67ha in Mutema and 85ha in Nyangui.Nenzou added that equally worrying is that illegal settlers are occupying over 14 000ha in their plantations nationwide.

He called upon chiefs and other stakeholders to join hands in preserving plantations and forests. 

“It is no secret that fire is a thorn in our flesh. In 2023 alone 958ha were damaged by fire. The numbers are giving us sleepless nights as we are losing our timber resource base. In 2021, we acquired fire-fighting equipment to tackle this problem through the Belarus facility-nevertheless this has brought little relief as we are unable to fully respond to outbreaks,” bemoaned Nenzou.

Nenzou attributed the veld fires to illegal settlers, hunters and gold panners.

“If timber plantations are razed down it also means that there is no timber to talk about. We need you Chiefs to campaign against invasions, fire outbreaks and other social ills like gold panning. We are an organization that values community growth hence we utilise every opportunity to assist communities the best way we can. However, with the rate at which fire is ravaging our forests our aim to promote socio-economic development of communities might be hindered. It is my fervent hope that chiefs, together with the Minister of State will help us protect our plantations because they are our heritage and history,” he said.

Mugadza said traditional leaders are strategic partners in ensuring the sustainable management of timber plantations in the province.

“We are gathered here because we have one thing in common, the availability of timber plantations in your areas of jurisdiction. Timber is one of the major economic drivers in the country, and especially in Manicaland and it is upon us to support this industry for the economic growth of our nation. 

“Chiefs have direct contact with villagers and have earned the respect of their subjects. It is on this that traditional leaders should take up the task of educating people on the need to preserve plantations,” he said.

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