Training Support for Partners (TSP) has asked stakeholders in Ntchisi and Nkhotakota districts to take full responsibility of protecting Ntchisi Forest Reserve to continue to enjoying benefits from the plantation.
TSP programmes officer Hastings Chamatwa said this on Friday during a biannual review meeting for stakeholders to address challenges affecting the plantation. The highlighted challenges included illegal charcoal production, encroachment and poor maintenance of firebreaks.
He said Ntchisi Forest Reserve is the district’s primary source of water and income through tourism; hence, the need to protect it.
“People’s failure to take care of the environment has led to the drying of some water sources. The rainfall pattern has also been affected. There is need for stakeholders to protect the environment,” said Chamatwa.
Ntchisi district forestry officer John Masanda commended the organisation for the meeting, saying each individual or institution has an obligation to protect forests.
He asked the courts to give stiff penalties to those involved in depletion of natural resources.
In his remarks, Senior Chief Kasakula said there is need for civic education for communities to exercise ownership of the reserve and protect the same.
The meeting attracted forestry officials, police, court officials, chiefs and agriculture experts, among others. n