Mulanje Cedar could potentially be Malawi’s next big hard currency earner. visiting Queen Elizabeth 11’s Botanist, Stephen Blackmore, said Wednesday
The tree is endemic to Mulanje Mountain and has in recent times been under the threat of extinction.
Blackmore also chairs United Kingdom-based Darwin Initiative, which is funding the ‘Save Our Cedar’ campaign on Mulanje Mountain.
Speaking during a tour of some nurseries under the campaign in Mulanje and Phalombe districts on Tuesday, Blackmore said, though much has been done to replace the Mulanje Cedar population on Mulanje Mountain, there is need for more efforts towards the same.
He said timber from Mulanje Cedar has unique qualities which could be a source of foreign currency for Malawi.
“The cedar is really a very important and unique tree.So, although Malawi could start benefitting from the tree in the long term, it is important to start making those investments now,” he said.
He said Malawi has taken the right direction as far as protection of Mulanje Cedar on Mulanje Mountain is concerned.
Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT) is implementing the ‘Save Our Cedar’ campaign through community nurseries it established in the two districts.
The nurseries plant Mulanje Cedar tree seedlings which are then replanted on Mulanje Mountain.
Deputy Director of Forestry responsible for research, Tembo Chanyenga, said in a separate interview that research has shown that the tree can be planted like any other tree
“The fact of the matter is that the tree grows in Malawi alone, but it can be planted. We are planting Mulanje Cedar trees in Zomba and some parts of the country. What we need to do as Malawians is to be patriotic and protect this special tree,” Chanyenga said.
The Mulanje Cedar was declared a national tree by Malawi’s founding president, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, in 1984.
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