Malawi government hails World Vision’s FMNR

Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Nancy Tembo, has applauded World Vision in Malawi for efforts taken to restore the earth through Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) efforts that are bearing fruits.

Tembo, who was seemingly amazed that forests can be regenerated, made the remarks after touring two FMNR sites in Nkhoma Area Programme where World Vision is working.

According to a recent study by the MDPI Journal, Malawi leads deforestation statistics in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region with 30,000 and 40,000 hectares of trees lost every year.

Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Nancy Tembo

These statistics are largely attributed to agriculture expansion, tobacco growing, and excessive use of biomass. 

Tembo acknowledged that the growing population in Malawi is placing a burden on natural resources, pointing that it was critical that organizations step in to complement government, especially with innovative approaches like the one adopted by the World Vision.

“Over the years we have all witnessed the impact of climate change. We have already seen the dry spells. We have all seen the crop damage due to soil erosion. We have all experienced flooding”, she said, before appealing that time has come for all Malawians to embrace alternative sources of energy, and warned, “This charcoal business and use of firewood will continue bringing us environmental misfortunes if we do not stop”.

The event was spiced up by farming families from Dowa, Ntchisi and Phalombe districts that showcased forestry products like ‘Chitetezo Mbaula’ that uses less firewood and waste briquettes that are used for cooking, honey, fruits and other products.

From Phalombe, courtesy of a partnership with World Food Programme, community members under a World Vision Food for Assets (FFA) project brought grafted fruit trees and the actual fruits, greenhouse mushrooms and other produce coming from their efforts of conserving trees.

“With the earnings we are making from our conserved trees, we have stopped cutting trees aimlessly which is good for our children in the future”, said Mr Kefas Pensulo, from Chiwaya Village, Traditional Authority Kaledzera in Phalombe. 

In his remarks, World Vision’s Director of Programmes in Malawi, Charles Chimombo revealed that the organisation has helped communities recover over 10, 000 hectares of forest land using FMNR in its 36 impact areas across Malawi. Over 40, 000 farming families have household-based forests that supplement other communal spaces.

“Our work, ladies and gentlemen, builds on what we call the ‘Empowered Biblical World View’ to influence mindset change towards wealth creation and natural resource management which is synonymous with the will of God about the environment”, said Chimombo.

He also emphasised on the importance of the environment to human nature. The DOP promoted the use of FMNR as it uses natural trees.

FMNR is a rapid and low-cost approach to restoring and improving agricultural, forested and pasture lands to encourage systematic re-growth of existing trees or self-sown seeds. The approach is used wherever there are living tree stumps with the ability to regenerate (re-sprout) or use of seeds in the soil that can germinate on their own. 

FMNR targets communities that depend on forest-based resources such as firewood, timber and non-timber enterprises e.g. bee-keeping.

(Additional reporting by Harold Munthali, District Programmes Manager for World Vision in Lilongwe.)

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