The Malawi Lake Basin Programme (MLBP) has called on farmers and all Malawians to ensure that the trees they plant are well taken care of in order to increase the survival rate which is said to be between 60 to 80%.

MLBP Natural Resources Management Coordinator Richard Bwanali said in the 2017/2018 tree planting season, they intend to plant 2.2 million trees in collaboration with key stakeholders such as Forestry Department and smallholder farmers from Mangochi and Salima, where the organization is implementing its activities. But he was quick to point out that it is very important to seriously look after the planted trees as failure to do so will yield very minimal results.

He said the trees need to be well managed and protected and that if not taken care of, many trees fall victim to wild fire and livestock like goats.

“It is important to plant different tree species which provide different forest products and services and more importantly to enhance bio- diversity

He said MLBP will launch its tree planting season this January in the two districts, Salima and Mangochi.

He said to protect the trees from wild fires, there is need to clear all the trees surroundings so that when there is fire the trees are not affected.

He said planting trees which can be eaten by goats and other animals reduces the survival rate to 60% while planting trees, which cannot be browsed bloused the survival rate is much higher at about 80%.

He said as Malawi Lake Basin Programme, they are promoting 14 species of trees which provides fruits, medicine, firewood, construction poles etc.

He added that apart from planting trees they are also promoting natural forest regeneration through the conservation of the already existing natural trees and forest.

“We are working with the communities to sensitize them on the importance of letting degraded forest regenerate,” Bwanali said.

BY TIWONGE KAMPONDENI