Ministry of Energy, forests and Natural resources,on Wednesday handed over a first ever charcoal licence for commercial purposes to Kawandama Hills Plantation inside Viphya Plateau in northern district of Mzimba.
Ben Botolo, Principal Secretary for Environment and Climate Change, told reporters in Lilongwe that the license aimed igniting the general public interest to own their forests which can be used for commercial purposes.
“These are the people who have already trees, they will not be going to hunt for trees somewhere,” said Botolo.
Botolo emphasized that government will only issue permission for charcoal production to those owning plantations and continue tracking down individuals tampering forest reserves.
“Looking at the country’s deforestation rate, issuing licenses to those managing the natural resources was the way to go. This will encourage the nation to embrace the spirit of planting trees such that with good management they can harvest its products at their will after getting a nod from government,” said Botolo.
Tanya Clarke, Kawandama Hills Plantation Director , expressed gratitude for being given a license which will necessitate the institution to venture into sustainable way of managing the natural resources.
“We are determined to serve Malawians better with natural resources products,” she said.
Clarke said charcoal production was still on the trial while weighing the cost benefit of producing the product for commercial purposes as the plantation’s core business was to extract oil from the trees similar of Blue gum as charcoal is remains a by-product.
“.The core business of the plantation including the use of tree leaves for medicinal products and oil extraction such that charcoal comes second as the by-product.
“Trails are underway to assess the market value of charcoal production in Malawi as we can’t compete with the already illegal trade. After fully done with the trials, we will roll out the campaign across the nation encouraging the general public start owning their plantation.
“The license give it’s a true reflection of Malawi government commitment to explore other means of managing the environment sustainably as such we won’t abuse the offer but rather serve the nation better”, assures Clarke.
Kawandama Hills Plantation which is also known as Citrefine was established in 2009 such that yearly about 800 seedlings are planted in 10 hectares of land within Viphya Plateau for primarily on export quality Lemon Eucalyptus oil and the extraction of from the leaves for medicinal products.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :