President Chakwera handing over tree planting materials to youths
* As Chakwera launches Malawi Green Corps Project in Dowa
* The President appeals to Malawians to take the initiative of replenishing the environment as their sacred and civic duty
* Malawi Green Corps lays the foundation of a sustainable and green recovery of the country
* It also provides thousands of the much-needed jobs for the youth and addresses unemployment for many
By Tiyanjane Mambucha, MANA
Minister of Natural Resources & Climate Change, Eisenhower Mkaka disclosed that that during the last forestry season, the survival rate of over 50 million trees that were planted countrywide is currently at 65%.
He said this in Dowa on Friday when President Lazarus Chakwera launched the 2021/2022 National Forestry Season and Malawi Green Corps Project.
Most trees planted in forestry season barely survives because of lack of care, thus the President said the new Malawi his administration is building will not only focus on progressive development and economic prosperity, but also environmental sustainability.
Chakwera appealed to Malawians to take the initiative of replenishing the environment as their sacred and civic duty, saying already the country is healing from four tropical storms that hit the country in less than a year.
“Government welcomes projects like the Malawi Green Corps because it lays the foundation of a sustainable and green recovery of the country,” he said.
“It also provides thousands of the much-needed jobs for the youth and addresses unemployment for many vulnerable people that have mostly been affected by climate change and the CoVID- 19 pandemic.”
The president handed over tools to youth representatives of the Malawi Green Corps Project, which will be implemented with support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
It will provide short-term employment to 2,000 young men and women and rehabilitate 5,000 hectares of degraded land and forests.
Present was the United Nations Resident Coordinator to Malawi, Rudolf Schwenk, who said the UN remains committed to support environmental management and restoration movement beyond the Malawi Green Corps Project.
“As UN family, we look forward to continued partnerships with government, development partners, civil society and private sector to support forestry management through ecosystem management and landscape restoration in other critical landscapes such as the Bua River and Lake Chirwa,” he said.
This week, Chakwera and two of his Ministers — of Minister of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe and the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Sosten Gwengwe — are expected to meet Norway’s Minister of International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim and UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President, Gilbert F. Houngbo to discuss investments in climate change resilience to achieve zero hunger and poverty targets in the country by 2030.
The two visit Malawi from tomorrow, Monday, in the wake of storms to discuss climate resilience and hunger and in a statement from Rome issued by IFAD on Friday, said the trip was necessitated as Malawian farmers are still reeling from Tropical Cyclone Ana and other storms that followed that devastated crops and livelihoods in recent weeks.
Tvinnereim and Houngbo are expected to meet the country’s leadership and small-scale farmers to discuss the impacts of climate change, and ways to build resilience.
Ahead of the visit, Houngbo is quoted as saying: “Extreme weather events have increased globally and have recently wreaked destruction in Malawi — and it is the small-scale farmers who are feeling the brunt of it.
“My urgent call is to step up investments in adaptation and resilience to ensure that climate change does not deepen hunger and poverty.”
During the three-day visit, Tvinnereim and Houngbo are also expected to meet with Rudolf Schwenk and also a trip to an IFAD-supported project to discuss the challenges of climate change and CoVID-19 directly with small-scale farmers, particularly women, to see how targeted investments have built their resilience and boosted their food security, nutrition and gender equality.
In November last year, FDH Bank partnered with Malawi Forestry Department in the environmental and natural resource conservation by adopting Chingale Hills Forest in Zomba through a sponsorship of K10 million per annum for its sustainability drive.
At the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at Zomba District Council offices, FDH Bank’s Deputy Managing Director George Chitera had said the sponsorship is in line with the bank’s sustainability drive, dubbed FDH Cares.
He said the adoption of Chingale Hills forest came at the backdrop of various initiatives that FDH Bank Plc engages in under the banner ‘Our Environment’ sustainability pillar, which include committing to plant 1 million trees by 2024.
This commitment will be done through FDH Bank’s staff members, partners, customers and various stakeholders in support of the World Economic Forum global restorative initiative to grow, restore and conserve 1 trillion trees around the world to restore biodiversity and help fight climate change.
The bank also manages a ‘Be Green Smart Tree Planting’ season initiative in which its staff members plant and nurture 5 trees each in partnerships with NGOs and also sponsors Green Café Program on Zodiak Broadcasting Station.
FDH Bank also sponsors annual Green Awards for best media reporting on environmental conservation facilitated by Association of Environmental Journalists.
“FDH Bank Plc recognizes the importance of a green environment and as a responsible corporate citizen it has reinforced its commitment to champion a sustainable green environment that will foster the development of the country and nurture a resilient country against various environmental and economic forces,” Chitera had said.
He applauded the role the Department of Forestry and other key stakeholders are playing in protecting and nurturing the environment in Malawi and supporting all global initiatives.
“We are, therefore, truly delighted to sign this memorandum of understanding today and we look forward to a working relationship that will help nurture a green Malawi.”
Quoting Chapter One of the Holy Bible, Chitera said God made Man to be dominion of the world he created and that “He still calls on us to take care of everything that sorrounds us and we are answering that call from God”.
Director of Forestry, Dr. Clement Chilima disclosed that under the reforms being undertaken in all government ministries and departments, the Ministry of Forestry & Natural Resources decided to engage with stakeholders by inviting them to play their role in addressing “serious deforestation the country is facing”.
“From the results of a survey that the Ministry of Forest & Natural Resources conduct some three years ago, it was determined that over 9 million hectares of land has been degraded and it is in our plans that by 2030 we should restore 4.5 million hectares — which is half of it.
“We cannot do it all alone — we need stakeholders to join join in the initiative and thus we applaud FDH Bank by being the first to respond to our appeal for support which we advertised in the media.
“It’s a big battle we are facing ahead of us because the public continues to wantonly cut down trees for charcoal production and in this initiative we are involving traditional leaders to impress on their community subjects to positively participate,” he had said.
He impressed on the public that the tree planting season would now be known as the ‘forestry season’, saying environmental conservation is not just about replacing trees but also through its proper management.
“Our forests and the rest of our environment sorroundings can restore by themselves by simply managing them without even planting trees — thus our call to the private sector and the communities to adopt and manage our forests,” he had said.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira