The Zambian and Turkish Governments have agreed to immediately start implementation of the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on co-operation in the field of Forestry.
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Jean Kapata and Turkey’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Bekir Pakdemirli agreed during a bilateral meeting in Ankara that it is important for the two countries to start implementation of the issues contained in the co-operation agreement for the mutual benefits of the two countries.
The Minister said shortly after the bilateral meeting that her Turkish counterpart has promised to send a team of technocrats to Zambia in October this year ,to provide technical support in the areas of forestry, fish farming and land survey,
“We also told the Minister that we need capacity building in the Forestry Department in seeing to it that every district in Zambia has nurseries so that we prepare adequately for the tree planting that we have every year beginning of the rainy season,” Ms Kapata said
She also expressed concern about the high levels of deforestation in Zambia arising from indiscriminate cutting down of trees for charcoal production.
Ms Kapata said to address the problem of deforestation, Government has embarked on a project to buy 15,000 seedlings of a special solid bamboo species at a cost of K375, 000.
The Minister said Government will give each province 1,500 seedlings of this special solid bamboo species, which will be distributed to all districts.
“This species of solid bamboo is special and once one seedling is planted, you have almost 200 sprouts. It has a number of advantages because the charcoal that will be produced from it will last longer than the one which is coming from the trees that we have and also it takes only four years to mature, it is drought resistant and is also nutritious for animals like cattle and goats,” Ms Kapata said.
The Minister called on Zambians to support the Forestry Department as Government undertakes the project.
She also said Government will strengthen laws to protect the forests and partner with the chiefs to secure land for the plantations
And Mr Pakdemirli said the Turkish Government is ready to provide the necessary support to the Zambian Government to ensure the successful implementation of the MoU.