President Lazarus Chakwera has asked the private sector to adopt forest reserves in various communities to ensure the survival of trees planted during the National Forestry Season.
Speaking at Tukombo Primary School ground in Nkhata Bay yesterday when he launched the 2020/21 Forestry Season, the President also urged citizens to assume responsibility in containing the growing deforestation in the country Malawi.
He expressed concern that most people do not see a link between forests and human survival, saying such a mindset should be defeated as it is fuelling wanton tree cutting.
Said Chakwera: “We want to ensure that this initiative is sustained so that the trees we plant are not just for the sake of fulfilling a duty, but we must look after them. We must ensure that we take care of our forests, and we have asked the private sector to adopt forests in all communities.
“The investment is in the people themselves who must believe that this is for our survival, this is in order for us to thrive as a nation. It is not just about money, but the will to be able to do this because it is our life.”
T h e President acknowledged that the main driver of deforestation is charcoal and firewood production,
settlements and agriculture. as well as encroachment for
He said government is promoting the adoption of alternative cooking energies such as briquettes, biogas and liquified petroleum gas as well as the growing of bamboos and fast-growing trees for sustainable charcoal production.
Added Chakwera: “I am also pleased that the ministry is engaging the private sector, the youth and women to be involved in the development of bamboo plantations, briquettes and other alternatives to restore degraded forest landscapes.”
In her remarks , Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources Nancy Tembo said dealing with deforestation requires the efforts of every Malawian, the public as well as the private sector.
She said: “We are in talks with donor partners so that we find money to address this problem, because they are also interested in helping us deal with this issue. I am also touched by the call from Traditional Authority Zilakoma of this area for government to find alternatives to charcoal. Government is working tirelessly to do that.”
During the recent Climate Ambitions Summit, Chakwera pledged to make Malawi carbon neutral by 2050.
Malawi is losing forest cover at an alarming rate of about 32 000 hectares per year. The country’s goal is to restore 4.5 million hectares of degraded forest landscape through tree planting, natural regeneration and improved land husbandry by 2030.
The National Forestry Season runs from December 15 to April 15 and the theme for this year is Trees and Forests for Improved Health and Well-Being. Government targets the planting of 60 million seedlings during this season.