Impounded trucks loaded with Mukula logs (Pic. Lusaka Times)

LUSAKA – The government of ZAMBIA has announced plans for a law to facilitate the harvesting and sale of the MUKULA timber on an open market to foreign entities.

ZNBC News quotes Lands and Natural Resources Minister JEAN KAPATA as saying the proposed legislation will bring a reduction in the illegal collection and marketing of the tree.

It says she has disclosed the information in ETHIOPIA where she has been attending a Least Developed Countries Ministerial Meeting on Climate at the UNITED NATIONS Commission for AFRICA.

Minister KAPATA has paid a courtesy call on the ZAMBIAN Ambassador to ETHIOPIA, SUSAN SIKANETA, saying the government is committed to ensure proceeds from the MUKULA tree benefit all citizens.

Conservation experts say the MUKULA takes 90 years to grow to 18 meters, and is ONE of the strongest timbers on earth – with vehicle makers like BENZ and BMW using it to make dashboards.

Meanwhile, the ZAMBIAN Lands and Natural Resources Minister says the least developed countries have called on the advanced economies of the world to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Her call comes amid a controversial argument over the depletion of the ozone layer that protects the earth from harmful direct sunrays, with developed countries – which have polluted the atmosphere – calling the poor countries to stop industrial advances.

They want the THIRD WORLD to use what they call safe methods of production, which means using renewable energy sources like solar, hydro, and wind powered electricity generators.

Poor nations are therefore encouraged to plant a lot of trees to absorb greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, which the FIRST WORLD has been pumping into the skies for hundreds of years – causing the current climate change conditions.

Climate change is the shift in weather events linked to increased global average temperatures: and experts say it is real, as temperatures have been rising worldwide for many decades.

The ZAMBIAN Ambassador to ETHIOPIA, SUSAN SIKANETA, has commended her government for introducing a tree-planting program in the SADC country.

A report by the THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION says ZAMBIA earlier this year started exporting timber seized from illegal loggers who continue to fell trees despite a nationwide ban.

However, REUTERS says such moves have caused controversies in other countries – with some people arguing selling confiscated timber sends the wrong signal to illegal loggers and others accepting it as a way to provide much-needed income.

ZAMBIA in 2016 banned the chopping and transportation of the MUKULA tree in a bid to control the fast depletion of the highly priced wood, which is on serious demand in ASIAN countries./Sabanews/cam