Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy, and Mining, traditional leaders, Ntchisi District Council and a community representative have signed a Forest Co- management Agreement for the Ntchisi Forest Reserve, a move authorities say will scale-up management of the reserve.
Director of forestry in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Clement Chilima said in an interview on Friday that the agreement will see the involvement of various stakeholders in the management of the forest reserve.
He said previously, the forest was solely managed by the government, an arrangement that resulted in the communities and other stakeholders lacking a sense of ownership.
“Experience has shown that it is important to engage all stakeholders in the management of reserves,” said Chilima.
Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwansambo of Nkhotakota district whose area surrounds part of the forest reserve, said trees have been depleted at a faster rate due to lack of ownership.
In his remarks, Protecting Ecosystems and Restoring Forests in Malawi (Perform) Project chief of party Ramzy Kanaan, whose organisation facilitated the signing of the agreement, said they will empower communities with trainings to ensure effective management of the reserve.
He said the training sessions will include prevention of bush fires and income generating activities.
Ntchisi Forest Reserve covers 9 720 hectares and is surrounded by T/As Nthondo, Vuso Jere and
Kasakula in Ntchisi and Mwansambo in Nkhotakota.