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Local communities shunning afforestation in Blantyre

By Chilungamo Missi

Blantyre District Forestry Officer, Carol Matimati has bemoaned low participation of local communities in tree planting activities saying this threatens their goal to plant two million trees in the forestry season.

In an interview on Monday, Matimati said that out of the two million trees which they envisaged planting in the 2023 tree planting season, they have managed to plant 1,210,145 trees only.

“Low participation of local communities in tree planting activities and inadequate funding is hindering our progress. We might not reach the target but we will have a small shortfall.

“In percentage, we might reach 90 percent of the target because currently, we are slightly above 60 percent,” said Matimati.

She said that they will intensify raising awareness in local communities and lobby for more funds from Non-Governmental Organisations to ensure that more trees are planted in the district.

Commenting on the development, Environmental Activist, Godfrey Mfiti said that it is worrisome that locals are not taking part in tree planting saying if this remains unchecked the country should expect more catastrophes resulting from environmental mismanagement.

He said: “The participation of community members or the general members in tree planting leads to sustainability of the exercise. However, in this case, since the members are not taking part then this is a setback.

“This is the right time for us to ensure that we are able to maintain the environment because we have just received a cyclone which has produced devastating effects. We should encourage each other to maintain our environment and avoid a future scenario of similar nature.”

Blantyre District Council launched the forestry season on January 25 under the theme ‘Restore Degraded Forest Landscapes for Livelihood Security’, and it is expected to end on April 15.

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