Government asked to evict encroachers from Champhira Forest


M’mbelwa District Council has appealed to government to help it get rid of encroachers who have settled in Champhira Forest in the district and are cutting down trees wantonly for charcoal and timber production.

Council Chairperson, Councillor, Evance Ndhlovu said this Thursday when Minister of Natural Resources and Climate Change, Michael Usi visited the district to appreciate Ripple Africa’s Tree Planting and Efficient Cooking Stoves project in the district.

He said apart from depleting the forest reserve, the encroachers are engaging in other kinds of illicit activities including sex trading.

Ndhlovu said the council, through the office of the Director for Natural Resources, with the aid of police, have been forcing the encroachers out but they vacate temporarily and return later.

Usi pledged that government, through his Ministry, is going to consider the matter seriously and ensure that the encroachers are removed.

“We will have to firstly reason with them to vacate the forest in a peaceful manner. However, if they do not comply then they will have to be evicted by force,” he said.

The Minister commended Ripple Africa for the tree planting and efficient cooking stove initiatives it is implementing in the district saying they are in line with government’s desire of restoring the environment.

Ripple Africa Country Representative, Coss Ngwira said the organization is working with over 1,300 beneficiaries who received pine tree seedlings and some of whom have established woodlots of up to 30,000 trees.

Reported by Yamikani Sabola

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