President Peter Mutharika yesterday launched the 2016/2017 National Tree Planting season and the 2016 National Forestry Policy with a repeated call to Malawians to plant and protect trees.
Speaking at Kalambo Primary School in Lilongwe, Mutharika said Malawians have every reason to plant many trees after going through adverse effects of environmental degradation that include frequent blackouts and floods that killed people and destroyed property in 2015.
“In 2015, we saw the worst floods of our times. Our crops were washed away and we harvested nothing. We still have those memories when flooding rivers washed away schoolchildren with school bags on their backs. The cost of destroying our environment is very painful,” Mutharika said.
Mutharika further said: “During the last year, we have all felt the frustrations of power shortage in our homes and workplaces. Sometimes we went for 24 hours without power. In case you wonder, I was never spared of power shortage at State House. There are many times when power flow was interrupted and I felt what most of you felt.”
The National Forestry Policy of 2016 aims to improve provision of forest goods and services to contribute towards sustainable development of Malawi.
“This will be done through protection and conservation of forest resources. It also provides guidance to all stakeholders in the provision of forest services as well as implementation of interventions that will promote sustainable forest management in the country,” said Mutharika, adding that one billion trees are expected to be planted in the season.
Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka cautioned the courts to avoid frustrating efforts of Director of Forestry aimed at protecting the forests. He was referring to the 2016/17 forest harvest ban which he said was not respected when some people obtained injunctions.
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