Malawi’s celebrated commercial farmer and Salima Central Member of Parliament (MP), Felix Jumbe, has proposed that government should put in place a special commission that can look into the issue of reforestation in the country warning that without such the country shall not register any impressive progress.
With one of the highest population densities in Africa, and with only two per cent of the population having access to electricity, people in the country are cutting trees faster than the forests can grow.
Jumbe, who is this year planting 11 000 trees on a ten hectare piece of land in the confines of his constituency in Salima, told Nyasa Times that it was unfortunate that the issue of reforestation is being taken with a grain of salt in the country.
He said a “special” commission would work more effectively on making sure that reforestation works arguing that it would somehow be independent to plan and implement projects and programs which is not the case at present since the forestry people are a mere department at the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Resources.
“The special commission will surely have the energy to work things out. It would be easier for it to monitor the progress being achieved as far as reforestation in the country is concerned,” he said.
A forestry expert, Alpha Chavula, corroborated with Jumbe saying the idea of having a special commission is viable and has worked effectively in some Sub-Saharan countries.
“The Kenyan government has such a commission, and it has been a success. The advantage with having one is that serious attention is given to the way forests are managed,” said Chavula.
Malawi continues to suffer massive deforestation which is chiefly accelerated by demand for firewood and charcoal as well as timber business.
Chikangawa – Africa’s largest man-made forest which sits on 53 000 hectares of land, for instance, – has been heavily plundered with scanty efforts to reforest it.