Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Zim ivory tusks valueless: Muchinguri

ENVIRONMENT minister Oppah Muchinguri yesterday claimed other African countries such as Kenya, Botswana and Chad were scuttling efforts by Zimbabwe to sell its huge ivory stockpile insisting that it must be burnt.

by VENERANDA LANGA

Muchinguri said this in the National Assembly, while responding to a question by Shamva South MP, Joseph Mapiki (Zanu PF), who had asked her to explain when Zimbabwe would benefit from its ivory stockpile.

“The problem is that other countries like Botswana, Kenya and Chad are pushing other countries to ensure Zimbabwe does not sell its ivory,” she said.

“When we went to Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) they wanted us to burn our ivory, but we refused because the value of our tusks is very high, and we will wait until we have a chance to sell them.”
Muchinguri said all that the country could do now was to manufacture artefacts such as earrings and bangles from ivory, but it had also proved difficult to sell them to tourists.

“Those tourists are required to get permits so that their countries allow them to bring the earrings made out of elephant tusks. The process is almost a ban on Zimbabwe’s ivory, but we will keep fighting to ensure our tusks are sold,” she said.

Mapiki also asked if Zimbabwe could use its tusks as collateral to get loans from countries like China and Muchinguri said: “China closed their domestic market, saying they do not want to deal in ivory, and as it stands our ivory has no value at international level. It is considered valueless.”

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