Republic of Malawi
By: Gift Chimulu
The Department of Forestry says it is overwhelmed with stakeholder’s involvement in its afforestation drive being implementation across the country since the onset of the 2019/20 National Forestry Season last December.
Speaking in February during a tree planting exercise organized by ZAMM investments at Dzalanyama Forest Reserve in Lilongwe, Director of Forestry Stella Gama described the development as a milestone towards achieving sustainable forest management and utilization in the country.
According to Gama the department requires contemporary commitment, efforts and support from individuals and stakeholders to compliment government's efforts of improving the country’s forest cover currently under threat due to high levels of deforestation.
She said “the department is grateful noting that stakeholders have started recognizing the role of trees and forests in restoring Malawi’s natural resource base, which in turn creates a conducive climate for high productivity. This is in line with the National Forest Policy of 2016 which recognizes and values stakeholder involvement towards management of forest resources.
She however called for more support towards management of the newly planted trees as well as existing forests, citing a commitment spearheaded by ZAMM investments of managing and restoring 10 hectares of the reserve with exotic tree species for the next years.
In his remarks Director for ZAMM Investments Mohammed Tutla said it is their organization’s core value of providing a safer environment to communities through their cooperate social responsibility principle.
According to Tutla they thought of restocking Dzalanyama Forest Reserve considering that the reserve is the main source of clean and safe drinking water for the majority of Lilongwe residents.
Tutla described Water as a greatest necessity, every human being requires in abundance.
“Water if the most precious resource. Water is the greatest necessity you can live without electricity but you can't live without Water, Water is Life”. He added
Besides committing itself to plant and manage 10 hectares of the Forest Reserve, the company earlier last year instituted a deliberate policy in which 50 Tambala out of every bottle of cool-drop drinking Water they produce and sell is channeled into the conservation of the Reserve through Lilongwe Waterboard.
Traditional Authority Masumbankhunda whose catchment covers a greater section of Dzalanyama Forest Reserve hailed ZAMM investment for championing environmental conservation in his area, hence calling for his subordinates to support, adopt and own interventions being brought by the company through Dzalanyama Forest Reserve authorities.
Dzalanyama Forest Reserve is estimated at 98,000 hectares and is a basket of a wider range of forest resources and services including a source for safe drinking water through the Lilongwe Water Board.
This year’s National Forestry Season was launched by the state president at Thuchira in Mulanje, on the 18th of December, 2019 under the theme: Trees and Forests for transformed landscapes and livelihoods and it will run up to the 15th of April this year.