Efforts were being undertaken by the Hurungwe Rural District Council (RDC) and tobacco contracting companies to control deforestation in Hurungwe district, though this was not entirely successful as demand for wood fuel for tobacco curing increases.
Stock piling firewood in preparation for tobacco curing ward 10 and 12 – March 2014
This project was developed in response to forest loss challenges identified by Hurungwe RDC. These problems included that: i) the farmers who were not on tobacco contract farming were posing a problem as they continued to depend heavily on wood fuel for their tobacco curing as they could not afford to purchase coal on their own, ii) the funds to make credit available to non-contract farmers to buy coal was not available and hence there was need to capacitate these communities/ households/ farmers on efficient use of firewood to reduce the rate of firewood they were using, also punitive restrictions had not been successful as other farmers were resorting to cutting firewood at night and wood poaching, iii) there was lack of understanding of the importance of re-forestation and avoided deforestation among all farmers on or not on tobacco contract farming, hence there was need to increase their awareness on the need/ importance of avoided deforestation, re-forestation and promotion of planting fruit trees was also to be encouraged, and iv) there was over dependence on wood fuel by poor households, hence there was need to provide these households with solar lanterns and firewood saving chingwa stoves to encourage them to adopt more wood conserving practices.
The project was then organized into the following project goal and specific objectives
To promote efficient use of firewood increasing community’s awareness towards diversifying energy sources from wood-fuel.
To promote Giant Timber Bamboo to 250 tobacco farmer households and capacitate community members on its multiple benefits, which include charcoal production, cane furniture, and fodder/stock feed which have potential to increase households’ incomes
The project sought to provide an alternative green fuel for local communities to use. Giant timber bamboo was to be explored as a potential alternative energy source. Giant timber bamboo is a woody species bamboo and is a fast growing and quickly harvested crop taking 2 to 3 years to mature after planting. It matures in 3 years with first cutting in the 4th year in winter. It can be used as a perimeter fence around homesteads or in the fields working also as a wind break. Minimum harvest height is 15 – 20 meters and growth is fastest during the warm season. It is a non-invasive bamboo species as it is lab developed and does not flower. Duration of a single clump once established is 100 – 200 years with no other costs other than harvesting. 250 farmers would be selected and given 15 bamboo plants each to plant as part of a pilot project to see if the bamboo could establish in Hurungwe district.
To promote reforestation through promoting three (3) fast growing tree species in degraded landscapes and promote fruit orchards to 500 selected households
To carry out a study on potential adoption of alternative energy by selected communities through distributing 63 Chingwa stoves and 50 solar lanterns
WHAT WAS ACHIVED
Bamboo at various height of growth wards 12 and 10
This objective was achieved as 1,907 ha of forest under threat from tree cutting if no specific action is taken to protect the landscapes that were identified in 5 villages. This will enable assisted natural regeneration (ANR) principles to be used such as enrichment planting to increase the biodiversity value of these forests for specific uses the community will identify such as bee keeping, mushroom production or collection of edible caterpillars