Zimbabwe losing 33ha of forest annually



ZIMBABWE is losing 33 hectares of forest owing to the excessive use of wood for fuel amid intermittent electricity supplies, National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda said yesterday.
Speaking during a virtual workshop on capacity building and policy dialogue with Sadc parliamentarians responsible for gender and renewable energy, Mudenda said most rural women in Zimbabwe were using wood for fuel.

“In Zimbabwe, six million wood for fuel accounts for 61 percent of the total energy consumption. The harvesters of this wood for fuel are women, especially in the rural areas. This translates to 33 000 hectares of forest cover or 60 million trees per year.

Such levels of deforestation are unprecedented and consequentially make gender energy mainstreaming an unavoidable imperative.

“That is why Zimbabwe has embarked on a minimum of 10 million planted trees annually. Furthermore, Zimbabwe has crafted the National Energy Policy and the Renewable Energy Policy, which acknowledge gender
equity which clearly outlines that the availability of energy in rural communities will unlock their productive potential,” Mudenda said.

He added that there is a significant energy divide between the rich and the poor, between men and women, boys and girls.

“Access to energy has significant economic and social impact which varies based on gender, social strata, geographic and demographic segmentation”. Consequently, women entrepreneurs are now involved in off-grid technologies for cooking such as solar and biogas cookers ,” Mudenda added.

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