Tobacco farmers against deforestation

By Rutendo Chigiya


CHINHOYI- THE Tobacco Wood Energy Programme (TWEP) is meant to address the
deforestation that is caused by the farmers when they use the indigenous trees to cure their
The country has recorded Mashonaland West Province as the highest in tobacco-production
region. Hurungwe is the first, followed by Zvimba, Makonde then Chegutu.
Deforestation is very high in these areas with tobacco farmers being the major drivers of the
deforestation, hence TWEP has been introduced to promote reforestation.
Wisdom Nduku, the District Forestry Extension Officer for Makonde District, said that
tobacco farmers should join such programmes while the tree species available are still free.
“Farmers should come and collect these different TWEP species because they are for free and
the distribution is also free all the costs are being taken care of by the Government and the
Forest Commission is there to distribute the seeds to the farmers’ destinations.”
The Tobacco Wood Energy Programme has 12 species such as the Kenyan Crouton,
eucalyptus, acacia and muzunga. The Forestry Commission and environmentalists have
discovered that these trees are fast-growing and also indigenous to the natural climate
conditions, hence they have introduced the tobacco wood energy programme.
Nduku placed emphasis on how these trees can be cared for and what one should have to
ensure a good plantation.
The farmers are given seedlings and are mentored on how to take care of the trees by the
Forest Promoters, these are workers from the Forestry Commission.
“So far in Mashonaland West they are two nurseries in Hurungwe, one in Zvimba and all are
under Tobacco Wood Energy Programme,” Nduku said.
Every farmer is encouraged to join the Tobacco Wood Energy Programme, only the farmer’s
details are needed in order to receive the seedlings. This programme includes commercial
farmers, A2 farmers as well as the small-scale farmers.

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