62 percent of Zimbabwe’s total energy demand is supplied by trees and forests. This is according to the latest findings by the Zimbabwe Forestry Commission. The findings show that energy demand could be higher due to the country’s energy demand from firewood. Zimbabwe loses its forest resource at an estimated rate of almost 300 thousand hectares annually.
“It is true that 62% of the total energy demand in Zimbabwe is supplied by trees and forests. We are looking at the firewood for cooking and heating and we have seen this upsurge in that usage owing to the electricity challenges that most households are facing in urban areas,” Forestry Commission spokesperson, Violet Makoto said.
“Historically we knew that firewood was mostly used by the rural communities but now we are seeing more and more urban communities using firewood. This has an effect on the forest as a resource,” Makoto said.
Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority Chief Executive Officer, Edington Mazambani said more alternative energy sources should be harnessed to protect the environment.
“Yes, we want to move people away from firewood, to attain our country determined contribution in terms of carbon dioxide reduction. We want to move people away, not only from firewood, but from many fossil fuels to renewal energy or cleaner alternative to renewable energy,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Minister, Zhemu Soda said Government is also extending the grid network to cover for the rural electricity requirements.
“I think you have noted in the past where we would go to commission some projects. It is still happening and in December alone we had some three or four projects that we commissioned and those were grid extensions that are being done by the rural electrification authority. The aim is to ensure that those communities are using electricity as an alternative source of energy,” he said.