By Andrew Kunambura
Zimbabwe’s biggest coal miner, Hwange Colliery Company (HCC), has slashed prices in a bid to combat massive deforestation around the country.
Prices have been slashed by eight percent from $65 to $59 per tonne.
“If the country does not take steps now, we will be left with no forests considering that wood provides about 95 percent of all energy needs for farmers.
“To this end, Hwange Colliery is offering discounted prices of coal to all farmers in a bid to save the forests,” HCC managing director Thomas Makore told the Daily News yesterday.
He also said HCC had appointed coal merchants to distribute the product in all the 10 provinces in the country in smaller packages of 10, 20 and 50kgs for the convenience of small-scale farmers.
“The competition between energy and environmental needs in Zimbabwe has taken centre stage of late, with government promoting the use of coal in tobacco farming areas in a bid to reduce and ultimately stop deforestation.
“One of our themes as HCC now is ‘No to deforestation, clever farmers use Hwange coal and save forests’,” Makore said.
Makore also urged those in other forms of farming such as poultry, maize and crocodile to turn to coal for their energy requirements as firewood was depleting forests which are vital to human survival.
“As part of support services, we have partnered the National Railways of Zimbabwe to enable quick movement of coal to various farming areas.
“It is also offering support services to its farmers, including but not limited to knowledge on good tobacco curing techniques, coal storage and veld fire management.
“Coal is cheap, has a high energy content, safe to transport, store and use,” said Makore.
Zimbabwe loses at least 50 million trees annually to rampant felling, particularly in areas where armies of hundreds of thousands of people were resettled in forested areas in the past decade and started cutting trees, mainly for curing tobacco. Daily News