Over 1000 hectares of timber plantations have been destroyed by fire which started last week in Chimanimani, presenting a major blow to the country’s timber industry whose future is already bleak due to continued destruction.

Following years of investments to grow the timber industry, it is sad for one to wake up and see the plantations being destroyed by fire in a single day.

Such is the situation affecting timber plantations in Chimanimani with the recent fire outbreak destroying over 1000 hectares and leaving farmers counting losses amounting to millions of dollars.

One of the affected farmer, Mr Joshua Sacco, who is also Chimanimani East legislator, said the unfortunate incident destroyed over 400 hectares of his plantation, with the loss crippling his financial power to revive the timber plantation.

“We had an unfortunate fire incident and I lost about 400 hectares on this farm, while a total of about 1000 hectares were lost in the area which is a great blow to the timber industry,” he said.

The legislator said more awareness campaigns are needed and possibly the removal of duty on firefighting equipment should also be considered while laws on environmental protection must met out deterring penalties.

“It is very important to put our heads together to preserve our plantations. The government needs to take an aggressive stance on afforestation and reforestation across the country. European countries have subsidies on affostation and we need to copy the positive plan from them,” he said.

The Chimanimani East legislator said the future of the country’s forestry industry is bleak if measures are not taken to revive the sector, adding that the government should offer subsidies and incentives to grow the sector that continues to be under threat from uncontrolled fire and invasion, among other challenges