Tropical Storm Ana destroys 300,000 trees in Nsanje planted in 2021/2022 forestry season

Traditional Authority Ndamera planting a tree on Friday

As Ripple Africa embarks on a four-year environmental conservation project aimed at maximizing the use of biomass energy in Salima

By Robert Nayeja & Grace Kapatuka, MANA

Over 300,000 trees of the 1 million that were planted in Nsanje District the 2021/2022 forestry season have been destroyed by the recent Tropical Storm Ana.

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District Forestry Officer for Nsanje, Noel Moyo disclosed this in an interview on Friday at the official launch of the 2022 forestry season at Group Village Head Chilema in Traditional Authority Ndamera in the district.

Moyo said the district forestry had targeted to plant 1.5 million trees but managed 1 million, but still this was a good development that has just spurred the setback due to Cyclone Ana.

“We are still planting more to achieve our target,” he said. “We are still planting although some trees have been destroyed by the storm.”

Guest of Honour at the launch, Traditional Authority Ndamera advised his subjects to plant more trees as one way of reducing flood risks that have largely affected the socio-economic activities of the people in the district.

Chakwera launching the forestry season on Friday in Dowa

He, therefore, advised people in the district to be responsible and take part in planting more trees and managing them.

“Each year, people from Nsanje are hit hard by floods and this year floods were everywhere because we have carelessly cut down trees.

“Let us be responsible by planting more trees so that we should not suffer the way we have suffered this year with floods,” he said.

In his remarks, Nsanje District Council chairperson, Rose Makiyi agreed with Ndamera, saying people in the district should be more responsible with conservation of the environment, saying the floods that are disrupting people’s lives day in and out would be minimized if people planted more trees.

Water & Sanitation Minister Abida Mia planting a tree at Mudi Dam catchment area in Blantyre

The district launched the forestry season under the theme: ‘Health trees, forest, economy and people.’

President Lazarus Chakwera also 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.  

He said this in Dowa on Friday when he launched the 2021/2022 National Forestry Season and Malawi Green Corps Project.

A tree plating activity by FDH Bank

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.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Ripple Africa has embarked on a four-year environmental conservation project aimed at maximizing the use of biomass energy in Salima through utilization of Changu Changu cooking stoves.

Briefing the District Executive Committee members on Friday, the organization’s country manager, Force Ngwira said the project — which is being funded by Conserve Carbon Malawi — is aimed at conserving the environment through the use of the stoves that use less firewood.

He said the stoves will help to reduce pressure on natural trees which he said have been depleted in most parts of the district.

“We did a survey in 2009 whereby it was revealed that a family that uses a three stone fire uses three bundles of firewood in a week, and with this product that we have just introduced, the very same size of a family will be using one bundle of firewood in a week.

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“So, there you can see how much they are saving,” he said, adding that the project was first introduced in Nkhata Bay in 2010 and extended to some parts of Mzimba and Nkhotakota in 2019 before reaching out to Salima.

Salima district forestry officer Adam Jason welcomed the project, saying it has come at the right time and in line with the council’s plan of promoting sustainable forest management and addressing environmental degradation challenges.

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“It’s a welcome development to us because the project has come at a time when as Salima and the whole country we are trying to conserve the environment through different ways, we need such partners to come in like they have done.

“On the other hand, the project is in line with implementation of strategic pillars 1, 2 and 3 of the national charcoal strategy of 2017-2027,” Jason said.

Director of Planning and Development, Kelvin Harawa said the district needs such partners to compliment government’s effort in providing different services to the people.

According to the district forestry office statistics, the district loses about 500 hectares of forest cover every year.

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