Head of European Union delegation in Malawi, Ivo Hoefkens Tuesday went on a fact-finding mission to assess survival of trees planted in 2017. The exercise was part of a community ecosystem restoration with several local institutions in Traditional Authority Kamenyagwaza in Dedza district.
A total of farming 23,000 households from around Traditional Authority Kamenyagwaza, took part in the establishment of woodlots, using tree seedlings as a way of improving their livelihoods. This was under the EU supported Empowering Forest Dependent Communities through Commercialization of Small-Scale Forestry.
The project aims at enhancing community involvement in management and commercialization of local forest resources, empowering them to take great ownership of their resources and utilize them to develop sustainable enterprises.
Speaking in Dedza [30th March, 2021], during a monitoring exercise of woodlots in Kadzungu Village, before planting additional trees at the same site. Hoefkens was all praise to note that investments made four years ago, through a programme they financed, is now paying off.
Hoefkens added that the EU is in the process of formulating new plans of focus for the next seven years. He however stressed that environmental protection activities will remain a priority to help the country mitigate and adapt to effects of climate change.
Director of Forestry. Clement Chilima, commended efforts shown by the community members in management of the trees. Chilima explained this will go a long way in realising the continental dream of restoring 4.5 million hectares of degraded landscape by 2030.
He said, it is government’s wish to have communities and stakeholders engaged in afforestation exercises.
“As you witnessed during this year’s forestry season. We are involving communities through constituencies to ensure they own the initiatives and take good care of it,” said Chilima.
The director emphasized on a need for people to understand the importance of trees to livelihoods support saying most trees are being lost due to charcoal burning and bush fires.
Dedza district acting District Commissioner, George Ngaiyaye, commended the EU project for making people realize how livelihoods can be improved through such initiatives.
He further assured the EU delegation and forestry staff of continuity in the quest to improving degraded landscape to recover their lost glory in the district.
This article first appeared on Mana Online Malawi website