Raiply Malawi Limited has said encroachment and bushfires in its concession area are affecting the company’s operations.
Speaking during festive season celebrations the company held last week for communities surrounding Viphya Plantation, Raiply Malawi spokesperson Dalitso Chimwala said the country is losing a lot through the malpractices.
He said last year alone the company lost over 360 hectares of trees to bushfires.
Chimwala said: “It is people from other areas that are damaging the plantation.
“Some were brought to this area by businesspeople who later dumped them. For them to survive, they resort to encroaching our area.”
However, Chimwala said the plantation has benefitted people of the area.
“Through the plantation, a number of people have secured jobs. We also support schools with desks and other materials as well as health services,” he said.
Chimwala said the company will support 14 schools surrounding the plantation with 1 000 seedlings for learners to plant trees during this tree planting season.
In his remarks, Traditional Authority Kampingo Sibande said most of the illegal activities are done by people who are stranded in the plantation
“But chiefs are intensifying sensitisation campaigns to
discourage people from destroying the plantation or being involved in illegal activities,” he said.
Raiply started its operations in March 1999 following the purchase of Viphya as part of government’s privatisation programme.
The concession agreement signed between government and Raiply gives the company exclusive rights to harvest and utilise forest resources within an area of nearly 20 000 hactares, with the trees ad land remaining government’s sole property.