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US investor to plant trees on 100,000ha

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Werani Chilenga

The Natural Resources Committee of Parliament has struck a deal with America-based Eden Reforestation Project at this year’s Conference of Parties (CoP)26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

The committee’s chairperson Welani Chilenga confirmed the development, saying the move would be beneficial to Malawi as it would see the country planting trees on 100,000 hectares of land.

“As you know, deforestation is said to be responsible for the loss of approximately 33,000 hectares of trees per year and this is mainly attributed to agriculture expansion, tobacco growing and excessive use of biomass energy sources. The project will, therefore, help in environmental management, especially in areas where trees were cut down. This is best thing that has ever happened to this country.

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“Personally, I have attended more than five CoP events but nothing like this came up. We will make sure that we, as a country, utilise this opportunity. These investors will be in the country early next year to formally sign contracts with the government. This will, for sure, create more jobs for Malawians and we believe it will be a turnaround in climate change management,” he said.

Last week, at one of the side events at CoP26, Forestry and Natural Resources Minister Nancy Tembo said loss of trees was one of the factors that had contributed to climate change in Malawi and the world at large.

“Malawi is one of the countries negatively affected by climate change. Recently, 60 people in Malawi were killed by Cyclone Idai and the damage it caused was vast. It is estimated that, for us to recover, we need $170 million. Apart from that, there are other disasters in between that have come before we have even recovered from the 2019 cyclone disaster.

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‘‘Malawi is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and weather-related disasters, mainly due to its land-locked location in the Rift Valley, heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture, rapid population growth, rapid urbanisation and settlement patterns, poor economic status and environmental degradation,” Tembo said.

The World Bank ranks Malawi among the top 10 countries in Africa heavily exposed to climate change effects.

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