President Lazarus Chakwera has launched this year’s National Forestry Season with a call for a better Malawi that works towards sustaining its beauty and environmental health.
Chakwera said the new Malawi which his administration is building is not just about development and economic prosperity but environmental sustainability too.
He was speaking at Dowa Secondary School where the launch took place.
“I want to stress that the responsibility that we bear over the forests as citizens and which our partners support goes beyond planting trees.
“It also includes improving the survival of trees and restoring degraded trees through natural regeneration,” Chakwera said.
The President applauded development partners that are supporting the country’s efforts in restoring ruined landscapes.
He bemoaned the rate at which the country is losing its forests stressing that the annual one percent loss of the forest cover the country experiences is not small.
“We must reverse this trend. We must take our country back. We must stand up to those whose only interest in Malawi is to harvest its resources and leave us with less than we had when they found us,” he said.
Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources Eisenhower Mkaka said last year, 50 million trees were planted across the country with a 65 percent survival rate.
He said the target this year is 40 million trees.
United Nations Resident Coordinator Rudolf Schwenk said youths should be at the centre of environmental management and restoration as they also productively contribute to the economic development.
With support from UNDP, government has launched Malawi Green Corps initiative which will give 2,000 youths short term employment to rehabilitate 5,000 hectares of degraded land and forests.
USAID representative Keith Lott said the devastating effects of Tropical Storm Ana have sent a message that expanding energy alternatives should be an urgent act that would reduce over-reliance on wood fuel and save trees.