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THE Forestry Commission has hailed tobacco farmers in most parts of the country for creating woodlots for the cure of the golden leaf under the tobacco wood energy programme (TWEP), a move that will avert deforestation.

TWEP was formed over a decade ago to conserve the forests by establishing woodlots for tobacco curing.

This was after newly resettled farmers ventured into tobacco farming, destroying several hectares of forests annually for treatment of tobacco.

Forestry Commission spokesperson Violet Makoto on Thursday told NewsDay that: “We are currently happy about the uptake of the programme by farmers through the establishment of woodlots and the growing interest by farmers who do not have the woodlots yet.

“Its success can be measured after some time with woodlots that everyone can see and also the harvesting and use of wood from those woodlots.

“Every tree planting season, we are availing seedlings to the farmers to encourage them to plant more of these fast growing species. “

The programme was launched to reduce pressure on indigenous forests and allow them time to regenerate and recover.

Zimbabwe is losing at least 330 000 hectares of forests per year due to deforestation.

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