Information Technology company, Techno Brain over the weekend partnered Association of Environmental Journalists (AEJ) and Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) in planting trees in Dzalanyama Forest Reserve which is Lilongwe River’s source as a way of helping restoring the heavily destroyed forest to its former glory.
The company has been planting trees in the forest for the past four years as a way of helping to sustain the environment.
Project manager for the company, Tionge Chipeta-Mwandira told journalists after the exercise that the company had bought 5000 seedlings to add towards the planting exercise.
She said, “Techno Brain values nature so much that is why for four years we have been participating in this tree planting exercise right here at Dzalanyama and we are proud to be part of the efforts to restore this forest.”
Secretary to government, Lloyd Muhara led the exercise.
Other stakeholders during the event were Malawi Defense Force (MDF) officials led by the army commander, Griffin Supuni Phiri, Inspector General of Police Lexten Kachama and his officers, Nation Publications Ltd (NPL) and AHL Group of companies among many others.
According to Muhara, Malawi government is hoping that Dzalanyama Forest Reserve is going to be restored if the survival rate on trees planted in the previous growing season can be sustained, adding that the seedlings survived by 78 percent.
Said Muhara: “If we plant trees and let them survive that much every year for the next five to ten years then we are going to be able to restore Dzalanyama Forest.”
Board chairperson for LWB Edward Chitsonga attributed the tree survival to good planting timing and good care provided to the trees.
Said Chitsonga: “We made sure that we planted the trees when there was enough moisture in the soil and when it became too dry we applied water to the trees to make sure that they don’t die of drought.”
According to him the board planned to plant 6000 trees but planted only 1000 seedlings during the exercise so the remaining 5000 seedlings re planted on a better day when it was raining or there were
The biggest challenge to the Dzalanyama Forest has been the surrounding communities who fell down trees in order to make charcoal or sell the firewood. The practice has been so rampant that it felt like government was losing the battle until it engaged the Malawi Defense Force to guarding the forest.
However, in spite of the MDF drastically reducing the number of people wantonly cutting down the trees, the soldiers’ involvement in the exercise was met with resistance from the public arguing that they (soldiers) were doing their job with a measure of brutality.
The MDF commander, Griffin Supuni Phiri, disputed the allegations that soldiers were brutal, adding that they were simply discharging their duties and those who didn’t like them were the law breakers.
According to Supuni Phiri, currently there is now good understanding between the surrounding communities and the MDF soldiers that’s why the complaints have drastically reduced.
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