Pyxus agriculture Limited says it has lost about 400 hectares of trees to arson fires in Chikangawa Forest in Mzimba this year alone.
Managing Director, Ronney Ngwira has described the trend as the worst ever saying that previously, arson fires could affect 15 to 20 hectares of man-made forest.
Ngwira has asked Ministry of Forestry Natural Resources to engage the ministry of home affairs and internal security to enforce rule of law.
"We annually invest about 1.3 Million US Dollars in afforestation programs in our 15 forests across the country. But what we have experienced at Chikangawa this year is hell losing about 400 hectares of trees in a year," he lamented.
Ngwira however lamented the conduct of some law enforcers he alleged are taking time to act on cases they complained about.
"We arrested some arsonists and handed them to Mzimba police but up to now, the cases have stalled. We want government to help us in the enforcement of the laws to curb arson cases in Chikangawa."
He was speaking on Monday when Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Nancy Tembo visited the plantation to appreciate what the company is investing towards replenishment of the environment.
While expressing worry about the rise of arson cases in Chikangawa, Tembo urged people benefiting from the forest to engage in dialogue when the are misunderstandings with the company.
She said losing such tree investment to arsons is regrettable as government is striving to see 4.5 million hectares of bare land covered with vegetation by 2030.
"My ministry will engage the relevant ministry to enforce laws on culprits to deter other would-be offenders," she said.
Tembo observed that frustrating such a potential investor is digging their own grave.
"As government we are commuted to ensuring that the company works under favorable conditions as it is complementing our agenda 2030 of afforestation 4.5 Million hectares of bare land in the country," she said.
During the tour, the minister also visited Mpale farm in Dowa where apart from afforestation the company is investing in biomass.
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Last modified on Tuesday, 07/12/2021