Karonga — Karonga District Forestry Office has expressed concern over increased dwindling of forest in the district due to wanton cutting down of trees for charcoal production.
In an interview on Friday Assistant District Forestry Officer Isaac Manda said despite the interventions applied to stop the malpractice, charcoal production has left a number of forests in a sorry state.
"You cannot understand what is happening here. We have forestry guards and patrolling officers in all the forests that we have in the district but this is not bearing any fruits," he said.
However, Manda said the office will continue patrolling and mounting roadblocks including that of Songwe Border to confiscate tones of charcoals that goes to the neighbouring Tanzania.
"We have our patrol officers at Songwe Border day and night to make sure that bags of charcoals do not go to Tanzania, but the challenge is some of the people use uncharted roots," he said
However, one of charcoal the producers Ipyana Moyo said in a separate interview that he indulged in charcoal production because of poverty and lack of employment.
"We know that what we are doing is wrong, but we have no option. We do not have anything to do for our survival. It is our plea that the government should create job opportunities for us and I am optimistic that this malpractice will surely come to an end," he said.
According to the 2017 Malawi Charcoal Policy under renewable energy, 97 percent of households in the country are using firewood or charcoal for cooking.<