Chakwera launches 2022-2023 forestry season

President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera on Saturday launched the 2022-2023 National Forestry Season with an appeal to Malawians to take multiple and sustained actions to reverse the destruction to natural forests and hold each other accountable for the collective pursuit of the Malawi 2063 development agenda.

The launch took place in Mangochi where Chakwera also challenged Malawians to protect the remaining and sprouting trees and forests, which he said are essential to the socioeconomic development of the country and the sustainability of the ecosystems that support the human society.

“As a nation, we must accept responsibility for the degradation of the landscapes that give us food, oxygen, good weather, and environmental protection. We must acknowledge that the way we have been treating the landscapes has been detrimental to ourselves and to our environment for decades,” he said.

President Chakwera watering a palm tree he had just planted to signify the launch of the 2022-2023 National Forestry Season

The Malawi leader emphasized that restoring the country’s degraded landscapes is non-negotiable.

He said apart from sustaining livelihoods and supporting ecosystems, forests also regulate the flow of streams and rivers, stabilize weather patterns and climate change impacts, and they keep our landscape beautiful.

Chakwera expressed Malawi’s commitment to restore of 4.5 million hectares of degraded landscapes by 2030 through the Bonn Challenge.

“This exercise is to take place in all degraded forest areas such as government forest reserves, customary estate, community/private forests, hillsides, river and stream banks and all other conservation areas. This may sound too ambitious to some, but with a population of over 18 million, which continues to grow and place enormous pressure on our economy in terms of growing demand for food, water, energy, and fibre, we simply cannot afford not to replenish our natural resources,” said the President.

He, however, stressed that this forest replenishing exercise will only be effective if Malawians also stop the destruction of forests occasioned by the rising and unmet demand for energy for domestic and industrial use.

Chakwera said it is high time Malawians developed and promoted sustainable fuel and energy sources that can take the place of unsustainable types of charcoal.

At this point, the President said his government is promoting the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPGs) and the production and use of sustainable types of charcoal and briquettes.

“Every Malawian home must make the switch, starting with those in urban areas, whose demand for toxic charcoal is one of the biggest incentives sustaining the malpractice. So as government, we insist that every Malawian home must make the switch to cleaner ways of cooking, such as the use of a clean cook stove that does not support or depend on the burning of our trees and forests. The same policy applies to industries, which must urgently switch from wood burning to efficient and clean technologies. I repeat: every Malawian home, home, and business must make the switch. Everyone must do it because the protection of trees and forests is our shared responsibility,” said Chakwera.

Meanwhile, the Malawi leader recognized various organisations, companies and individuals that are already supporting forest landscape restoration activities in Malawi.

He cited the National Bank of Malawi, which has adopted this palm forest, and FDH bank, which has adopted another community forest in Zomba, among others.

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