SMALLHOLDER farmers in Lower Gweru are irked over illegal firewood poachers who they say are causing deforestation in the area.

Vungu B village head Albert Maphosa has called on the Forestry Commission to act on firewood poachers.

“The issue of illegal firewood traders in our area is a cause of concern,” Maphosa said.

“This is causing deforestation. This is the time for the Forestry Commission and the Environmental Management Agency to intervene.”

As the economy plummets, wood and sand merchants are on the rise, but in the process causing environmental degradation.

According to Forestry Commission statistics, the country is losing about 330 000 hectares of tree cover through deforestation annually as households turn to wood for energy as the country grapples with an unrelenting electricity power shortage.

Maphosa added: “Authorities and law enforcement agencies, including the Forestry Commission, should prosecute the traders to save forests.”

Source Newsday