Malawi’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Management has warned that it will revoke licences of timber operators who do not replant trees in the Viphya Plantation.
Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Godfrey Kamanya, made the warning on Thursday when he made a surprise tour to the plantation and Luwawa Forest.
The visit was meant to revoke licences for businesspersons that were not planting trees.
Kamanya said the rate at which people were cutting down trees was alarming, leaving the land bare, something he said contributes to climate change.
He called on officials to revoke licences of people who do not replant.
Kamanya said the plantations have to be sustained for the future generations.
“It is good to note that the people are now planting trees. Anyone who will not comply will have their licences revoked. This message is not just for Viphya Plantation but all the areas where people are harvesting trees,” said Kamanya.
The deputy minister also expressed satisfaction with the progress of Forest Management Fund, which he said has seen several trees being planted.
He said through the fund government has been able to raise money and offer contracts to companies to plant trees.
“We have also bought four vehicles for the forestry officials to curb transport problems they were facing. With the vehicles the officials will be able to fight fires and check other malpractices on time,” said Kamanya.
As a motivating factor to plant more trees, Kamanya said the ministry will introduce awards for people who are complying with the replanting directive.
“If there can be some sort of a token for people who planted more trees, it will encourage competition and in the end the plantation will be covered easily,” said Kamanya.
Meanwhile, a total of 2 155 hectares has been replanted this year compared to 1 600 hectares last year. The Forestry Department, Raiply, Alliance one, Limbe Leaf, Total Land Care and AKL Timbers did the replanting.