Raiply Malawi says it has spent millions towards initiatives to protect Chikangawa Forest from illegal tree cutting and bush fires.
Raiply Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Oomen, claims the timber producer spends on average up to K15 million every month to secure the forest.
The expenditure is now being considered a liability for Raiply as Oomen says they would rather use the diverted resources to boost the company’s operations.
“We ar e spending between K10 to K15 million every month to stop illegal cutting down of trees and bushfires in Chikangawa. We engage soldiers and the police on a regular basis to help us save the trees that we use as raw material for our products,” Oomen said.
He then appealed to communities surrounding the forest to help in fighting the illegal cutting down of trees and bushfires so that the country’s economy continues to benefit from the forest’s natural resources.
Oomen said Raiply’s plans to embark on more corporate social responsibility activities were being hampered by the bushfires and the illegal cutting down of trees in the forest.
“We are the biggest employer here in the North with a workforce of over 2,000 people. Any reduction in the malpractices will help us channel what we can save from the cost of protecting the forest to other activities that will directly benefit Malawians,” he said.
Director of Sports in the Ministry of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development, Jameson Ndalama, said it was sad that the forest is being destroyed by illegal cutting down of trees and fires.
“The forest belongs to Malawians. It contributes to the country’s economy in many ways. It is sad therefore, that some irresponsible Malawians do not see the need to protect and preserve the trees growing in this forest,” Ndalama lamented.