Bushfires damage1100 ha in Viphya Plantation

The Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining wishes to inform the general public that it is greatly dismayed at the alarming rate at which forest reserves are being destroyed across the country. This sad development has been observed over the past years till now rendering them in massive losses of forest cover. In question and much at risk is the Viphya Plantation whose fires are largely indiscriminate and uncontrolled by nature. They have over the years destroyed much of the Viphya Plantation and currently well over 1,000 hectares have so far been lost due to these bushfires. This is a worrisome situation, quite disturbing and unfortunately remains the biggest challenge ever which the Department of Forestry annually faces.

The Ministry is therefore urging every citizen, traditional chief and stakeholder to cultivate a strong sense of patriotism and love towards sustainable forests management that these plantations and forests across the country are safeguarded. The ministry further calls upon people from all walks of life to help in curbing the malpractice of setting fires to the Plantation and that anyone found doing so should be apprehended to face the long arm of the law.

Government is also unbelievably dismayed that these fires are generated by certain individuals with malicious motives such as vengeance, a conduct which is uncalled for and unjustifiable. It is also discouraging to note that some unpatriotic people without passion for nature accuse the Ministry for taking a bold step in preserving and protecting these plantations and forests, a thing which it does based on its mandate vested into it by the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi through the Forestry Department. The Ministry therefore urges all Malawians of good will and passion to continue committing and investing their pride in the forestry sector that plantations and forest reserves are heavily protected against every destructive practice such as uncontrolled bushfires and timber poaching.

It is Malawi Government’s overarching mandate to promote sustainable forest management in order to enhance private sector participation, community-based forest and ecosystem management, promote and effectively sustain industrial forest plantations while enforcing against any destructive tendencies on the forests. It is also the wish of government to promote forest knowledge while disseminating information on issues of forestry amongst all members of the society including those living on the fringes of the Viphya Plantation on how to safeguard the plantation against uncontrolled bushfires which continue claiming a lot of hectares of the plantation annually.

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