One of the country’s tobacco buying companies, Premium Tama Tobacco Limited, has said it has invested over $750 000 [about K549.7 million] in tree planting activities over the past seven years.
Premium Tama Head of Agronomy, Riaan Herselman, said this when members of the Parliamentary Conservation Caucus toured some of the firm’s projects at Viphya in Mzimba and farmers in Kasungu District.
Currently, the company, in partnership with Total Land Care, is managing 200 hectares at Viphya where they have planted blue gum trees.
The firm also supports over 15, 000 farmers, each getting 260 tree seedlings per hectare and 18 bamboo seedlings.
“For us, it’s more of a corporate social responsibility project to show our customers that we are investing back in the community and in the environment. We actually have been asking for 4,000 hectares from the government to plant more trees but it has been three years now and [we have received] no concrete response from the government,” Herselman said.
Co-chairperson of the Parliamentary Conservation Caucus, Welani Chilenga, said that he was impressed with the efforts by Premium Tama to cover land that was bare and contain the problem of wanton cutting down of trees.
“In fact, we are disappointed with the Department of Forestry because they [Premium Tama] have told us that they have been requesting for more land which they are yet to be given. This is not a positive development as far as reforestation is concerned in this country,” Chilenga said.