This has been revealed by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Kester Kaphaizi.
He spoke in Lilongwe during the official launch of a 3 year joint forestry management project on Empowering Forest Dependent Communities.
This will be done through the Commercialization of Small Scale Forestry project to be implemented by ICRAF and World Vision Malawi.
The project estimates its goals and objectives to impact in the; commercialization of small scale timber out grower schemes and sustainable utilization of natural forests.
Since the late 1970s, growing concerns have been expressed about the “energy” or “fuelwood” crisis caused by tobacco production, with emphasis being placed on deforestation caused by the outstanding rate of soil nutrient depletion and considerable usage of wood.
Tobacco production is considered to pose “a particularly difficult dilemma for development,” as it generates a range of employment, income, foreign exchange, and other cash-contributing effects, while “the damage to public health and to the environment in the long term appears substantially to outweigh the benefits.
Among the underlying causes of tobacco-related deforestation include the usage of wood in the farm-based process of curing the crop that is, drying the leaves and the global shift of production into low-cost producer countries of the developing world which typically have fragile natural environments.
Tobacco farming requires substantial amounts of wood for a variety of purposes, such as curing, and poles and sticks for barn construction.
Although during the same period of time, arable land expanded at a rate six times higher than tobacco (2.4% each year), in more than 20 developing countries, most of them in the developing world and holding more than half of global production, land under tobacco increased at even higher rates up to 10 times in Pakistan, Philippines, China, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, for example, and in some cases even in Zambia and Uganda.