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8 million trees to be planted in the North

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The Department of Forest in the Northern Region has disclosed that it will plant over seven million trees during this year’s national forestry season that runs from December 15 to April 15 annually.

The Department has also devised a work plan to encourage councils in all the six districts of the region to develop by-laws that will protect the seedlings.

Assistant Regional Forestry Officer for Communication and Advisory Service, Evans Nyirongo, revealed the development at regional forestry season launch held at Bula in Nkhata Bay north.

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Nyirongo said the Department has realized that many trees die annually because communities in the region plant the seedlings late, few weeks before the end of a rainy season. He said lack of knowledge on tree-planting skills and care affects the life of the planted seedlings, apart from usual fires.

“This year we have planned to plant 7,950,000 seedlings in all the districts across the Northern Region. This will be achievable because, apart from engaging pupils in the exercise, communities, religious leaders and politicians will be approached,” said Nyirongo.

He added: “We have overlooked this in the past years and, as a Department, we are encouraging people to plant trees now because we have good rains for both crops and trees and people should make use of them.”

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Chairperson for Nkhata Bay District Council, Councillor Hastings Mkandawire, said their full council meeting agreed that chiefs should introduce by-laws that restrict people from burning charcoal.

Mkandawire then said the council will be monitoring Community Environmental Committees established under chiefs on how best to control deforestation and bush fires.

“We realized that Nkhata Bay is the main district which is supplying charcoal to the residents of Mzuzu City. That is why traditional leaders surrounding the city agreed during a full council meeting that no charcoal business should be entertained within their jurisdiction. We want Nkhata Bay to be green always,” said Mkandawire.

Speaking separately, Senior Chief Mbwana said the areas of Bula, Chikwina and Usisya are no longer the same because vendors from Mzuzu buy charcoal from his land.

He said his subjects sell land to the people from Mzuzu who open farms and cut down trees carelessly

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