Rumphi District Forestry Office has engaged traditional leaders in a bid to reduce wanton cutting down of trees and charcoal burning which are contributing to the alarming deforestation levels in the district.
The forestry office announced the initiative during a sensitisation meeting last weekend at Bale in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwankhunikira where charcoal burning and trading is rampant.
The meeting was attended by traditional authorities(T/A) Mwankhunikira, Mwahenga, Mwalweni and Sub T/A Njikula along with their village heads.
Rumphi District forestry officer Gift Nyirenda told the meeting his office has engaged traditional leaders in the endeavour after observing that the current strategies of confiscation of charcoal and awareness campaigns are not effectively tackling the problem.
He said. “Let me warn that from now onwards, we will not only fine or confiscate [forestry] products but we will also arrest and prosecute culprits.”
Nyirenda also disclosed that the forestry department has come up with policy reforms with conversion of fines that are in the Forestry Act to make the law more effective.
Meanwhile, Rumphi District Council chairperson, Harry Munyenyembe has disclosed the council will soon enact new by-laws to assist in protecting the remaining forests in the district. n