Authorities in Malawi have positively responded to concerns from their Zambian counterparts over the tendency by some Zambians who have been exporting protected trees from their country into Malawi.
Forestry and Police officers have confirmed to have rescued huge amount of tree logs from Zambia on the boarder district of Mchinji in the tradition authority Nkanda area.
Although no arrests have been made reports show that the illegal practice has declined.
And it has also been revealed that Malawians are also in the tendency of cutting down trees for burning charcoal but they are able to continue with the illegal trade just because the forestry department is facing funding problems.
The department also observed that most of the times law enforcers and the judiciary do not take forestry offences as serious as they are supposed to be taken, as such the penalties given are small and the convicts go back into the practice.
“Everyone who is found doing the tendency according to the law is supposed to have them confiscated and also have the charcoal as an exhibit in court.
“But most of the time people who are found guilty do not given a strong penalty in court because the prosecutors who take the cases to court do not know much about forestry laws,” said Mchinji assistant district forest officer Chrispen Soko this week.
On lack of adequate funding the officer said that it is greatly affecting their operations as the amount of money their office receive from government is inadequate hence affects their operations to be done efficiently.
“Patrolling of all protected forests across the district and paying allowances for the police officers who are signed to accompany the patrol teams requires some money which is usually not available,” said the officer.
“This leads to deforestation and climate change not only in the district but across the country and it would the nation a great deal if forestry laws would be revised,” said the officer who wished there were special lawyers for forestry department in the country, otherwise the tendency of cutting down trees carelessly in the district is so rampant.
It is said that the situation is o pathetic in the boundaries of Malawi and Zambia where people of these two countries are taking charcoal burning as a hot business.