By: Lloyd M’bwana
The Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining through the forestry department intends to plant 60 million trees for the 2015/2015 nation forestry season in bid boost vegetation cover amid effects of climate change.
This year’s national forestry season opens from December 15, 2015 to April 15, 2016 with its official launch slated for January 18, 2016 at Masasa Primary School ground in the central district of Ntcheu.
With the theme titled, “Arrest deforestation-Plant trees and conserve forestry, the ministry encourages the general public to plant more trees in bare hills, riverine borehole site and other water points and homesteads.
In a press statement released on January 16, available to The Maravi Post, the ministry emphasized the need for citizens to participate in this year’s exercise through planting new trees as the nation depends heavily on forests and forests resources for survival and sustenance.
“The ministry through the department of forestry has set a target of planting 60 million trees throughout the country during the season. We expect that all Malawians of good will, young and old, male and female should participate fully in this exercise.
“Trees and forests support the livelihoods of the vast majority of our people through the provision of timber and poles for construction, medicines, herbs, wild fruits and other products for nourishments.
Additionally, trees replenish the vital oxygen we breath, provide energy for cooking and heating and trees protect steep slopes and other marginal areas from erosion, thereby averting calamities such as floods”, reads part of the statement signed by the Ministry’s Secretary Ben Botolo.
The ministry further observed with concerns over high rate of deforestation and forest degradation mainly caused by agricultural expansion, illegal charcoal and firewood production, uncontrolled forest fires, expanding settlement and encroachments due to population growth saying these factors have endangered the forests and biodiversity that naturally balanced livelihoods.
The Maravi Post later the day caught up with the Ministry’s Spokesperson, on forestry and climate change, Sangwani Phiri on prospects of trees survival rate for the 2014/2015 by saying tree retention rate was 85 percent only the dry spell towards the end of the season affected its survival.
“It has been a good season as over 85 percent of the trees which were planted also survived in the year which gives us hope that the 2015/2016 tree planting season will reach 90 % which also good for the country efforts to address the effects of climate change through vegetation cover. It’s in this regard, that the ministry urges the general public to desist from careless and unnecessary cutting of trees as well as starting bush fires”, urges Phiri.