As the nation gears up for the 2023/2024 National Forestry Season with a target of planting 34 million trees, Michael Usi, the Minister of Natural Resources and Climate Change, has sternly cautioned individuals engaged in the illicit act of tree destruction through unauthorized charcoal production.
Usi delivered this admonition in Blantyre on Wednesday, articulating his concerns during a prelude press briefing to the National Forestry Season, spanning from December 15 to April 15 annually. Asserting an unwavering commitment to forest preservation, he pledged that his ministry will exhaust all efforts to tackle the predicament.
“In Malawi, charcoal production is not illegal because we need them for cooking but those involved in this activity should have a licence otherwise they are operating illegally.
“And those engaged in such illegal activities jeopardising the vital forests will face severe consequences because we have intensified our efforts to enforce forestry regulations and protect our natural heritage,” he said.
He, therefore, called upon all various players and communities to join hands in the forestry season activities in order to foster the regrowth of the country’s landscapes.
According to Usi, the activity resonates deeply, not only with the Malawi 2063 wherein sustainability and forestry restoration take precedence, but also with government’s pledge to restore 4.5 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
“As such, we strongly encourage citizens to actively engage in natural regeneration practices to create a more resilient and harmonious balance between our growing population and finite resources of our country,” he said.
President Dr Lazarus Chakwera is expected to launch the event on Thursday at Mpasa Hill in Phalombe under the theme ‘Forest innovation in action: reforestation for a sustainable tomorrow’.