President Prof. Peter Mutharika has stressed the need for the country to attain a 100 per cent tree survival rate in the 2016/2017 tree planting season.
He made the call at Kalambo Primary School in Lilongwe on Wednesday where he officially launched the 2016/2017 tree planting season also known as the National Forestry Season.
The President said planting trees was one thing and caring for them was another thing, hence every Malawian should take the responsibility of taking care of the trees and ensure that every tree planted should survive.
“The Director of Forestry says out of all the trees we plant every year 60 percent of the trees survive but this year we want one hundred percent survival rate of the trees,” Mutharika pointed out.
The Malawi leader said his official launch of the tree planting season was a personal pledge of Government’s commitment to building a sustainable future for Malawi.
He urged Malawians to use the rains by planting trees everywhere and to take care of the trees they plant.
“Trees and forests give us clean air for our breathing. Trees and forests give us the water that we drink. Trees and forests give us life because air is life, and water is life. When we destroy trees and forests, we destroy our life,” Mutharika stressed.
The President called on Malawians to stop illegal charcoal making and firewood collection.
He said the 2015 floods were the worst Malawi ever had and that they were due to wanton felling of trees which he said Malawians should desist from.
“We still have those memories when flooding rivers washed away school children with school bags on their backs. The cost of destroying our environment is very painful,” Mutharika recalled.
The President attributed power outage to environmental degradation saying even State House suffered blackouts and that he shared with Malawians the frustration of having no power.
Mutharika expressed hope that although most trees and forests were gone, it was possible to reverse the situation and reclaim the lost glory.
“We need comprehensive policies and aggressive measures to protect our environment,” said Mutharika, adding: “As Government, we have revised, approved and adopted a National Forestry Policy of 2016. The goal of the National Forestry Policy is to improve provision of forest goods and services to contribute towards sustainable development of Malawi.”
He said this would be done through protection and conservation of forest resources and that it would also provide guidance to all stakeholders in the provision of forest services as well as implementation of interventions that would promote sustainable forest management in the country.
“If every Malawian planted only one tree this year, and every year, we would plant millions of trees. So, let us collectively plant trees to protect our country; and protect our life,” Mutharika viewed.
The President marked the launch of the National Forestry Season by planting two indigenous trees, Mtangatanga and another one popularly known as Jambula.
After he planted the two trees, Ministers, senior government officials, Chief Executive Officers of Parastaals and diplomats planted trees followed by residents and school children of Kalambo Primary School.
Mutharika launched the National Forestry Policy of 2016 which also aims at ensuring reforestation of the country to make the country ever green. (By Kondwani Magombo, Lilongwe, January 25, Mana)