Moravian Church in Malawi has condemned the smuggling of charcoal into neighbouring Tanzania, saying the practice is contributing to deforestation in the country.

The church’s head of programmes in Malawi, Jonas Nyangwe, made the remarks recently in an interview after visiting some of the areas in Traditional Authority Kilupula in Karonga District where there is rampant deforestation.

Nyangwe said there is need for Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining to intensify patrols around the area of Group Village Head Katumbi and Mwenyewisi where many Tanzanians come to buy bags of charcoal.

“It’s quite disgracing because charcoal business in these areas is growing every day.
“The Tanzanian charcoal sellers come to buy metric tonnes of charcoal or employ Malawians to make charcoal for them and take it to Tanzania,” he said.

Nyangwe said the church was concerned, saying deforestation contributes to occurrence of floods during rainy season.

He, therefore, asked Malawians to love their country by refraining from such malpractices which he said cannot happen in Tanzania as their government is very strict on protecting and conserving natural resources.

Karonga District Forestry Officer, Christopher Chirwa admitted that charcoal burning in the area is rampant.

He said inadequate staff to patrol the forest in the area was a major challenge in dealing with perpetrators.

“We are happy now that some newly recruited forestry officers will be deployed there to beef up the staff and, hopefully, things will change,” Chirwa said.

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