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Forestry Institute of Zambia (FIZ) Highlights Implications of President’s Speech on Forestry Sector

The President’s speech during the opening of the third session of the National Assembly, themed ‘Building on the Social Economic Gains for Improved Livelihoods and a Better Zambia,’ has significant implications for the forestry sector, According to Mr. Chaliafya Katungula, the Secretary-General of the Forestry Institute of Zambia (FIZ).

President Hakainde Hichilema emphasized the importance of agriculture in Zambia’s economic transformation and job creation, which is noteworthy for the forestry sector due to its close connection with agriculture. Policies aimed at promoting agriculture can indirectly benefit forestry by increasing land use and development.

Additionally, the announcement of an increased purchase price for maize and a $300 million project to develop farm blocks is a positive development. These initiatives can contribute to the forestry sector’s growth by promoting infrastructure development, including power and road infrastructure, as well as skills training centers in farm blocks.

The rise in fresh cut flower exports to the European Union demonstrates the potential within the agro-forestry sector. Forestry professionals are encouraged to seize these opportunities and contribute their expertise to botanical studies and silviculture.

The government’s efforts to restore degraded rangelands and land in mining areas are commendable, aligning with the forestry sector’s goals of reducing deforestation and conserving biodiversity. The commitment to planting forests further demonstrates the dedication to addressing environmental challenges.

The operationalization of the Forestry Development Fund is a positive step, but there’s a need for clear guidelines, access procedures, and stakeholder awareness programs. Adequate funding through this initiative can significantly benefit the sector.

However, there is a concern about the lack of mass recruitment in the forestry sector, leading to a brain drain, while the government plans to recruit teachers and health workers. Mr. Katungula proposed revising recruitment plans to accommodate employment in forestry, aligning with environmental sustainability goals.

He concluded by stating that the President’s speech highlighted positive strides in economic growth, environmental sustainability, and human development. Nevertheless, the forestry sector requires more attention and investment to realize its full potential. Therefore, FIZ calls upon President Hakainde Hichilema to consider their proposal and prioritize the forestry sector for Zambia’s sustainable development.

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