Timber farmers switch to potatoes

The future of the timber industry here is under threat following the replacement of plantations with potatoes.

Timber Producers Federation acting Chief Executive Officer, Harold Mukwena, said: “This is a sad development and it will threaten the future of the timber sector, which contributes immensely to the gross domestic product.”

Vast timber plantations have been devastated by wild fires as new farmers prepare fields for potato farming. “The situation is terrible and the government must put in stringent measures to curtail the situation. What is of great concern is that most of the former timber industry players are now clearing the land for potato farming after harvesting the trees that have been planted by other people long back,” said Mukwena.

“I now prefer potato farming which is a short term crop at the expense of the timber, which takes 20-30 years. I do not have any option because I am looking for quick returns,” said Moses Tikuza.

Mukwena said if the trend continued, Zimbabwe – once a timber exporter – would soon run out of stocks.

Post published in: News

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