The Rural Infrastructure Development Programme (Ridp), a government initiative to improve rural livelihoods, plans to plant more than 10 million trees this year.
Ridp national coordinator Arthur Chibwana disclosed this on Tuesday at a tree planting exercise at Kampango Village, Traditional Authority Malili’s area in Lilongwe.
Said Chibwana: “We want to plant more trees in the country, especially in rural areas where deforestation mostly occurs. Last year, we planted over eight million trees and our target is to reach 18 million by the end of this year.”
He said with 32 million euros from the European Union (EU), Ridp wants to enhance rural communities’ social-economic situation through small-scale infrastructure and productive activities, including irrigation and tree-planting.
“The programme will run for four years and benefit districts such as Blantyre, Chikhwawa, Dedza, Dowa, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Machinga, Mangochi, Mchinji, Mulanje, Nkhotakota, Ntcheu, Thyolo and Zomba,” said Chibwana.
Forestry Department assistant director Nyuma Mughogho commended government for coming up with the programme.
“Issues of climate change have been a problem for some time in most parts of the world. Tree-planting is one way of tackling this problem,” said Mughogho.
She urged other stakeholders to participate in the tree-planting exercise, launched by President Joyce Banda on December 15 2012.
The exercise runs up to April this year.