Zimbabwe: Reforestation Programme for Tobacco Farmers


The reforestation programme is meant to fight huge deforestation in Zimbabwe caused by the increased number of small tobacco farms.  The tobacco growers are expected to contribute an amount equivalent to 1,5% of total tobacco sales for the whole season.

Last week Maggie Okore, who is chief executive officer at Sustainable Afforestation Association, told that the organisation launched a massive reforestation programme during which are going to be planted new forests on a surface of 4000 hectares by the end of 2014.

There will be engaged farmers with leases so that the organization plants woodlots and then leave the woodlot only after three crops. At the moment, there were planted  50 hectares in Kadoma, 250 hectares in Zvimba, and 252 hectares in Featherstone.

Seems like this is a drop in an ocean, but big things start from small ones. In case the solution of the problem shows its success, the next five years there will be no trees to talk about.

According to SAA Mashonaland West regional manager Lloyd Mubaiwa, in 2014 more than 88 000 small tobacco growers used harmful substances to cure their tobacco.  88 000 small tobacco farmers were cutting down trees to cure close to 110 000 hectares of tobacco that was planted this year. The number of tobacco farmers increases and it leads to reduction of forests.

Since February 2014 the SAA  planted over 1,5 million trees and they plan to plant trees on the remaining 250 hectares. According to  Mubaiwa, the trees would be harvested after 7 years and it is great that people do understand the importance of trees.

Forestry Commission data shows that Zimbabwe  have lost 15% of its tree cover in the last 15 years due to deforestation. Experts say that the contry may become a desert in 35 years.

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