Minister of Environment and Climate Change Management Halima Daudi has said tree planting remains Malawi’s best option to help reduce the global effects of climate change.
Speaking on Wednesday at Suzana Farm in Kasungu where the Agricultural Research and Extension Trust (Aret) was launching a tree planting exercise in conjunction with her ministry, Daudi said unlike heavily industrialised countries which are responsible for global warming through their large amounts of carbon emissions, Malawi is just one of the “innocent’ victims of the trend.
However, she said the country can help avert the situation by planting more trees.
“That trees are vital to our very own existence cannot be over-emphasized. Life itself revolves around a tree hence the urge to promote afforestation especially in our communities.
“As such, every household should be planting trees every now and then even without the championing of other stakeholders through various stakeholders. It’s time we became responsible for our own survival. It’s time communities owned such initiatives. ” Daudi said.
Director and chief executive officer for Aret Andy Khumbanyiwa echoed the minister’s sentiments when he highlighted the significance of tree planting to tobacco production.
Kasungu is one of the districts in the country that produce the leaf which also happens to be the country’s main economic backbone.
“We are aware that tobacco consumes a lot of trees each growing season-from barns to flue-curing and the like. This is the reason why we are encouraging farmers to plant as many tree for one they cut along the process of producing the leaf. Actually, we are urging all growers to allocate 10 per cent of their farms for forestry to help sustain the farming lest the industry face some negative effects in the near future.” Khumbanyiwa explained.
The institution donated 2 120 tree seedlings to Katelera community in the district for planting on the day. Khumbanyiwa also lauded communities for what he called “an improvement in the up-take of modern farming methods that include tree planting.”
Aret’s intervention- which was also graced by top officials from all the major tobacco industry players comes barely a month after vice-President Khumbo Kachali inaugurated this year’s national tree planting season in Chikhwawa.
If Malawi intensifies its afforestation programmes, it stands to benefit from carbon market sales under the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC), apart from helping in mitigating the effects of global warming.
Meanwhile, experts say Malawi is one of the highest consumers of trees, with a household currently using 2.6 tons of wood per year, which equals to 15 trees per year. At the sametime, over 20 percent of household incomes is spent on fuel wood, translating to $150-$250 (between K63 000 and K105 000) annually while women and children are the worst victims as they are reportedly said to spend over 520 hours yearly collecting fuel wood per household.