Forest based enterprise can boost economy.

By Rutendo Mapfumo

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Tree planting and conservation of the environment provide opportunities for creating wealth through
forest-based enterprises such as the production of improved fruits and honey for the export, an
environmentalist has said.
Speaking after walkathon initiative meant to send messages on environment conservation, the
Director of Green Shango Trust, Daniel Sithole called for the protection of trees as they can also be
sources of income outside the usual provision of oxygen.
Sithole said the protection of trees leads to the production of nut-based cosmetics, and the provision of
ecosystem services, for wildlife in Matebeleland North Province.
The environment protection vision is being supported fully by the National Development Strategy 1
economic blueprint, which began in January 2021 and will be implemented until December 2025.
“National Development Strategy 1 economic blueprint, which began in January 2021 and will be
implemented until December 2025. The NDS1 and the Vision 2030 have been put in place to deliver a
broad-based transformation, new wealth creation and expanding horizons of economic opportunities
for all Zimbabweans, and mainly focusing on leaving no one behind,” he said.
The trees and forests are important as people derive their livelihoods from them. Benefits from the
forests include construction materials, furniture, paper for books, firewood for heating and cooking in
rural areas, fruits and medicines and many other non- timber forest products such as edible worms,
mushrooms, honey and a variety of plant seeds used to produce oil for the cosmetic industry.
“Our forests are also the backbone of wildlife protection as they provide the habitat. We cannot talk
about climate change mitigation and adaptation without mentioning the important role of trees and
forests,” he said.
Hwange district has lost a number of trees to illegal charcoal production and environmentalists have
called for the protection of Mopani trees as well as reforestation.
Taku Mutepfa an environmentalist revealed that most Mopani trees in Hwange district are being cut
by wood poachers.
“Most of these Mopane trees are in elephant corridors, and the cutting down of the trees in these
corridors is affecting the movement of elephants and leading to the increase of human and Wildlife
Conflict in rural areas in Hwange.
“The cutting down of the trees has compromised the movements of elephants in the Elephant
Corridors in Hwange. The cutting of the Mopani tree is also killing our tourism and also the
environment,” he said.
The national tree planting day started with a 20 KM walk for trees from Nyaradzo office in Hwange
town to Lukhosi Secondary school in Hwange rural areas. The walk was spearheaded by the Friends

of the Environment (FOTE) and a number of local stake holders. A total of 50 trees were planted at
the Lukhosi Secondary School.
The Headman of Change village Joseph Change where the trees were planted applauded the efforts of
FOTE and said the initiative should be copied by future generations.

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