As the country strives to mitigate against climate change, some village heads under group village head Gawaza in Traditional Authority (T/A) Phambala in Ntcheu are reported to be fuelling charcoal production.
This has come to light as the World Bank funded Shire River Basin Management Programme (SRBMP) is promoting conservation and regeneration of natural forests to conserve Shire River inlets which have their catchment areas in Ntcheu, among other districts.
Commenting on the development on Tuesday after touring some wild forests in the district, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining director of forestry Titus Zulu expressed concern over the traditional leaders’ conduct.
“For several times and in several meetings, we have been engaging people in this area on how they can co-manage forests with forestry officials, but these efforts seem meaningless due to continuous charcoal production,” said Zulu.
He alleged that village heads are in the forefront selling forest areas to business people for charcoal production. This, he said, leads to siltation in the Shire River, the country’s main source of hydro power.
Group village head Gawaza refused to comment on the matter.
However, one villager who opted for anonymity, said village heads sell natural trees for charcoal production.
“Some village heads claim that the trees belong to them and they have the right to sell them,” he said.