Alliance One spends K1 billion in reforestation program

One of the country’s leading tobacco buying companies Alliance One Malawi Tobacco Limited says it has spent over K1 billion by planting some six million tree seedlings during this year’s tree planting season.

Alliance One Managing Director Hugh Saunders planting a tree seedling

Alliance One Malawi managing director Hugh Saunders disclosed this during the official closing ceremony of his company’s 2017 tree planting activities at Khola estate in Traditional Authority Santhe in Kasungu where the company also planted some tree seedlings.

According to Saunders his company in collaboration with Imperial Tobacco Group (ITG) of United Kingdom has so far planted over six million tree seedlings covering some 2, 130 hectares of land during this year’s tree planting period costing the Lilongwe based tobacco buying company over one billion kwacha.

“During this year’s tree planting season Alliance One has planted 6, 290, 600 tree seedlings on 2, 130 hectares on government forestry reserves, Alliance One’s commercial farms as well as on other smallholder farms costing about $1,440,700,” said Saunders.

Saunders further explained that since his company started implementing this reforestation program in 2011, it has so far planted over 31 million trees covering some 9, 765 hectares of land with a seedling survival rate of 95 percent annually.

He disclosed that his company decided to venture into this tree planting program as one way of helping government in sustaining the country’s environment especially trees which plays a crucial role in the production of both burley and flue cured tobacco in the country.

“As we are all aware trees plays a crucial role in tobacco production considering that majority of our smallholder tobacco growers use trees to construct their tobacco burns as well as curing their flue cured tobacco hence we are also encouraging our farmers to use live barns,”  he explained.

Saunders said since 2011, his company has so far planted about 33 million tree seedlings of which some of the planted trees will be ready for use by end of next year adding that the company has employed a large number of Malawians who takes care of the trees.

Speaking during the same ceremony Alliance One Malawi Leaf production director Ron Ngwira said the company has also planted over 180,000 bamboos covering some 576 hectares of land which will help local smallholder tobacco farmers to construct durable and sustainable tobacco burns and hanger-sticks.

“Apart from the different species of trees which we have planted, we have also planted about 180.000 bamboos which are grows very fast and we hope that in the next few years these bamboos will be ready for use,” said Ngwira.

Since 2011, Alliance One have planted millions of trees at Mpale estae in Dowa, Chikangawa forest in Mzimba, Lisandwa and Khola farms in Kasungu among many others. Some of the trees species that have been planted include; Acacias, Albizia, Eucalyptus, Bluegum and bamboos among others.

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