Fire has destroyed trees in Viphya Plantation that are in a section under Raiply concession area, according to a report by Raiply Limited.
The report shows that the portion affected by fire in the plantation contains both matured and young trees.
In an interview, Raiply forest manager Nathaniel Nthala blamed unknown people who burn trees in the company’s 20 000-hectare concession area, saying from August 2018 to August 2019 fire outbreaks affected about 900 hectares.
“Despite our efforts to restore the plantation, some people come at night and burn trees,” he said.
Raiply chief executive officer Krishna Das said 1 000 hectares of matured trees, if processed, are worth over K2 billion.
“But despite this, we are still investing in replanting exercises. Last year, we planted 1.6 million trees on 1 000 hectares.
“We also intend to do the same this year as we spend over K600 million for this replanting exercise every year,” he said.
However, in reaction, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining forestry director Clement Chilima said government is doing everything to prevent the forest from depletion, citing many cases that are in court against illegal timber millers.
“We closed the forest on many occasions and only few firms under our tree harvesting programme are left milling,” he said.