Mulanje cedar, once the country’s precious rare tree, has gone extinction with only seven trees remaining of the original 63, 000 four years ago.
Director of forestry in the ministry of Energy, Forestry and Environmental Affairs Dr Tembo Chinyenga said the government has embarked on a massive program to bring back the Malawi tree.
“The seven remaining cedar trees are in hard to reach areas, this is why we have embarked in a program to collect the seeds and grow them,” said Chinyenga.
He said the government has set up tree clubs who have been mandated to grow the rare tree species, saying the 10 clubs have a chance of winning up to K10 million if they do well in the growing and looking after the tree.
Cedar tree can fetch up to US$1 million for each tree but is now under great threat because of illegal logging.
“Our plan is to grow at least 1, 200 trees with the next four years or so,” said Chinyenga.
In addition, he said the government is now conducting generic studies of the rare tree, saying samples have been collected from Zomba and Chikangawa.
District forestry officer for Mulanje Ulemu Chitenje said efforts to use the Malawi Defense Force and police to police the Mulanje mountain forestry area has yielded nothing as illegal logging continue.
He said the government has 15 guards only guarding the whole mountain area for illegal logging of the precious tree.