Logging has been prohibited in Mozambique for the next three months, the Minister for Land, Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia said on Tuesday in Maputo, according to Mozambican news agency AIM.
The minister said that the decision made by the Council of Ministers is to allow the re-assessment of operating licenses “because we feel that there is dishonest use, which we call daylight robbery.”
Correia recalled that illegal logging has cost the country an average of US$200 million a year and gave the example that a cubic metre of wood can be purchased on the domestic market for 350 meticais (about US$5) and resold on the international market for more than US$300.
In March the government of Mozambique launched Operação Tronco (Operation Log), a mechanism to assess the degree of compliance with the Forest Act, as well as checking export records against evidence gathered on the ground.
The operation is underway in the northern provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula and central provinces of Zambezia, Tete, Manica and Sofala, which have the highest levels of logging.
Operação Tronco, conducted by the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development, through the National Forestry Directorate, has led to the seizure of 150,000 cubic metres of timber and fines amounting to 157 million meticais (US$2.2 million).