THE Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism in Tanzania is thinking up a plan to thwart a new kind of crime in which poachers and other unscrupulous elements buy up large numbers of animals and take them into restricted areas for grazing.
The minister, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, revealed this yesterday during talks with the British ambassador to Tanzania, Sarah Cooke, at the ministry’s offices in Dodoma.
Prof Maghembe said the illegal activities, which also involve syndicated money laundering, have been the root cause of conflicts between farmers and pastoralists in the country and contributed to the destruction of water sources and other conserved areas.
He told the British envoy that the issue has been brought to the government’s attention and efforts are underway to work out how best to deal with the problem that has already claimed several lives.
“We have identified the cartel and we will deal with it...they have been buying animals and handing them to locals for grazing in restricted areas, but then later coming back and selling the animals at much higher prices,” said the minister.He said it has also come to the ministry’s attention that most of the charcoal from Tanzanian forests is being sold in neighbouring countries, warning that this practice will not be allowed to continue.
Commenting on the adverse environmental effects caused by deforestation, Prof Maghembe said most areas in the country that usually receive rains for up to five months consecutively are now receiving rains for hardly two months, and are facing the threat of turning into deserts in the long run.
Ambassador Cooke assured the minister that she will strive to be a good ambassador for tourism in Tanzania as a way of further cementing bilateral ties with Britain.