As part of its mission to protect natural lands and preserve the environment in tobacco-growing areas, Auction Holdings Limited (AHL) Group has invested K2.8 million in a tree-planting exercise taking place in Lilongwe, Kasungu, Salima, Dowa, Mzimba and Chitipa, among other districts.
All the employees of five subsidiaries, AHL commodity exchange, Lilongwe Auction Floors Holdings Limited, Malawi Leaf, AHL Chemicals and Steel Company and Agriculture Trading Company, were involved in the tree-planting exercise.
This year’s theme is My Forest, My Life.
On Thursday, Lilongwe Auction Floors led by chief starter Dan Kapeta, pupils and traditional leaders planted 1 000 trees at Mikundi Primary School in T/A Mduwa in Mchinji.
The area is heavily deforested because the community cut down trees for use in tobacco curing and erecting of shades according to T/A Mduwa.
“This exercise is fulfilling one of AHLs corporate social responsibilities of conserving the environment as a way of mitigating the negative effects of climate change. The tobacco industry uses a lot of trees for curing tobacco. AHL feels duty-bound to participate in replenishment of these trees. We are trying to encourage farmers and pupils to plant trees every year,” said Kapeta.
“I am urging other stakeholders in the tobacco industry to emulate this good example since tobacco farming, is one of the economic activities that uses a lot of trees. It is, therefore, imperative that the tobacco industry should feel duty-bound to plant more trees in order to replace felled trees and eventually outpacing the rate of tree-cutting,” said Mduwa.
Speaking at Sakwi Primary School in T/A Kalonga Salima on Friday during another tree planting exercise, AHL Exchange Commodities senior economist Davie Lockie said trees reverse the impacts of land degradation and provide food, energy and income, helping communities to achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability.
“ AHL Executive Management felt that AHL, as a good corporate citizen, should participate in this noble but very important initiative by dedicating February/March 2014 to plant trees with pupils and their teachers and today we are here at Sakwi Primary School,” said Lockie.
Lockie discouraged people from cutting down trees unnecessarily and called on communities to strive at regeneration of the vegetative cover as one way of conserving natural resources.