By Bernard Mhone:
Karonga District Forest Office has expressed worry over increased numbers of Tanzanians who enter Malawi illegally to cut down trees for charcoal making.
Karonga District Forestry Officer, Christopher Chirwa, said this during the launch of the tree planting season, which Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) sponsored, in the district.
“Charcoal-making and selling business is flourishing here and the practices are perpetuated by Tanzanians and Malawians. Apart from charcoal-making and selling, trees are felled and used for brick baking, thereby contributing to incidences of floods.
“It is worrisome that forests and vegetative cover are being depleted in borders. We need to be patriotic,” he said.
To stem such cases, the forestry office has been raising awareness on the importance of forest conservation, thanks to resources which partners and managers of Local Development Fund have made available.
TCC Divisional Manager for the Central Region, Richards Chinthunzi, said flue cured tobacco farmers also deplete forest resources, hence the need to plant more trees.
“We are aware of the usage of trees for firewood in tobacco production and we have to give back to the community. We will make sure that our plan and research section monitors the survival rate of the planted trees. We will also make sure that local communities are empowered to take care of the trees,” he said.
Nyungwe Ward Councillor, Patrick Chunga, said local authorities have engaged area development committees on the need to embark on reforestation initiatives.
About 2,000 indigenous, exotic and fruit trees were planted on the day.
President Peter Mutharika launched the tree-planting season in Lilongwe on December 15 2018.