January 18, 2017 by Staff Reporter
The Malawi Defense Force (MDF) says it is committed to partner with schools and communities in addressing issues of climate change through planting and protecting trees in Malawian forests.
Speaking in an interview after launching a tree planting exercise by MDF at Cobbe Barracks on Sunday, the 93 Infantry Brigade Commander responsible for the Southern region Colonel John Chaika said the country is continuously facing challenges due to deforestation.
“MDF has been called upon by various stakeholders to assist in patrolling forest areas of Malawi because of human activities which are leading to deforestation resulting into climate change. Instead of just patrolling, we think it is also necessary to get involved in the actual exercise and we aim to plant over 10 million trees across the country,” he said.
The launch was conducted with support from National Bank of Malawi.
Colonel Chaika added that Malawi Defense Force is losing training areas every year due to deforestation which is negatively affecting their operations.
In the exercise, MDF, plans to plant trees in all forest areas in the Southern Region districts and every soldier will be given a number of trees to plant individually.
National Bank Chief Executive Officer (CEO,) Mcfussy Michael Kawawa commended Malawi Defense Force for the good spirit in joining Malawians in environmental conservation through tree planting and protection.
He pointed out that environmental degradation results to low water tables which in turn affect operations such as electricity generation and the country’s economy.
National Bank of Malawi pledged total support towards environmental conservation and urged all Malawians to make sure that all planted trees are protected and survive.
Director of Forestry Dr Clement Chilima described deforestation as the main problem of climate change.
“It is very shameful to see Zomba Plantation area totally bare due to deforestation which is human activity done during the day as well as at night,” he said.
To manage the forest, Chilima said his department is working with MDF and other stakeholders to protect Malawian forests.
He requested communities to be supportive by planting and protecting trees in all bare lands and along river banks.
Cobbe Barracks soldiers, families and students planted trees inside the barracks before proceeding to Zomba Mountain Forest where government has dedicated 5500 hectors to the soldiers.
The exercise was conducted with support from National Bank of Malawi.
The official launch of forest season will take place on January 25 under the theme “Malawian forests rooted in the past, branching in the future.”