BY Shingirai Vambe
Renewable Energy Association of Zimbabwe chief executive Isaiah Nyakusendwa has made a sensational suggestion that the country should do away with tobacco production and focus on horticultural products which do not harm the environment.
Speaking at a climate change workshop in Harare yesterday, Nyakusendwa said the continuous destruction of land through legal and illegal harvesting of timber plantations and other indigenous trees to cure tobacco had been a major driver of climate change.
He said the only effective mitigation measure was to ultimately do away with tobacco farming and focus on other farm produce which cause less harm to the environment.
“The country has friendly climatic weather conditions, and almost all farm products can be produced locally. Why should we stick to a product that will cost us in the long run? We can take an example from Kenya, it has been doing very well from horticultural products,” Nyakusendwa said.
Other stakeholders from the agricultural sector proposed that there be a re-plantation of fruit trees on tobacco land, which they said would help both the land and people to sustain themselves.
Timber Producers Federation chief executive Darlington Duwa said the country should manage its forests in a sustainable manner.
“Over the years, from where our timber comes from, there has been veld fires, illegal activities, coupled with lack of replantation and it is inevitable. The remaining available timber is most likely to last us only eight years,” said Duwa.