Pictorial of National Bank, Malawi army tree planting exercise  in Zomba: ‘Deforestation is security risk’

National Bank of Malawi plc (NBM) and the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) joined hands to launchthis year’s tree planting exercise in Zomba on Saturday.

Malawi army soldiers ready to plant trees

NBM chief executive officer Macfussy Kawawa planting a tree at Cobbe Barracks

General Griffin Supuni-Phiri waters a tree he had planted

Female soldiers also took part in the exercise

NBM head of strategy and marketing Wilkins Mijiga plants his tree

Colonel Blaise Saenda (left) prepares to plant a tree

Mrs Leah Saenda, wife to Col Saenda plant her tree

Supuni-Phiri: Wanton-cutters are internal enemies

Speaking at the event, Commander General Griffin Supuni-Phiri described the country’s deforestation rate as a security risk affecting MDF operations.

Supuni-Phiri said deforestation is affecting both their training and operations as they need forest cover to conduct trainings properly.

“This is why we are addressing this issue by not only conducting patrols but also by planting and taking care of trees. Apart from protecting this country from our external enemies, we also jealously guard our constitutional obligation of protecting this country from internal enemies and those involved in deforestation are our internal enemies because the practice is a security risk,” he said.

The army commander added that the low intensity operations that MDF conducts to flush out illegal loggers is a desperate measure aimed at fighting deforestation.

On his part, NBM chief executive officer Macfussy Kawawa said deforestation affects the business community, citing siltation and the low water levels in Lake Malawi and its sole outlet Shire River which has affected power generation.

NBM partnered MDF and the Roman Catholic Church in the tree-planting exercise.

The bank donated 50 000 seedlings to the army to be planted this season.

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