The Malawi Parliament Conservation Caucus (MPCC) has asked Limbe Leaf Tobacco Company to use its expertise in environmental conservation in preserving Dzalanyama Forest Reserve, the source of Lilongwe River which supplies water to the capital city and surrounding areas.
MPCC co-chair Werani Chilenga made the appeal in Kasungu on Thursday when the caucus toured Limbe Leaf tree plantation.
“We have asked Limbe Leaf to join other stakeholders to help conserve the Dzalanyama Forest. We will lobby government to give land concession within Dzalanyama to the company,” he said.
Chilenga said the caucus, whose patron is President Peter Mutharika, is impressed with efforts Limbe Leaf is making in conserving the environment.
“Limbe Leaf has demonstrated what producing tobacco in a sustainable manner means and by planting trees at a commercial level, Limbe Leaf has shown great commitment to the cause of environmental sustainability,” said Chilenga.
He said the caucus was happy with Limbe Leaf for imparting the knowledge on tree management to smallholder farmers.
Responding to the plea, Limbe Leaf director of legal and corporate affairs Febbie Chikungwa said the request will be considered by the Limbe Leaf executive management team.
Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Madalitso Kazombo, said the plantation has brought in other benefits to the community like employment for the locals.
“Again, the community recently benefited from Limbe Leaf corporate social responsibility [CSR] policy in the form of a maternity shelter and a kitchen at Wimbe worth K12.6 million,” he said.
In his remarks, Limbe Leaf head of sustainability Lloyd Barker said the company has planted different types of tree species, including indigenous ones, on 921 hectares and will continue to add to the hectares every year.
The MPs were taken on a tour of different sections of the plantation before visiting a model farmer Aaron Bulainati who planted a live barn. n