During the event, Dedza District Council Chairperson Francis Chimpikizo challenged people to take advantage of the exercise to restore forest cover and mitigate the impact of climate change in the district.
He said many people are affected by natural disasters because there are no trees to protect their houses and crops from harsh weather that comes with heavy rains.
He added that deforestation has also contributed to soil erosion and land degradation which has resulted in low crop production and hunger among farming families in the district.
“This is why it is important for everyone to take part in this year’s tree planting season by planting more trees for them to replenish the forest cover we once had so that we benefit in the future,” Chimpikizo said.
On his part, Dedza District Commissioner, Thomas Chigwenembe, appealed to various organizations to assist the council with seedlings and other logistical arrangements to ensure that this year’s target is achieved.
Dedza District Forestry Officer, Violet Msukwa expressed optimism that the council will meet the target.
She disclosed that during the last planting season, the council managed to plant 1.6 million trees when it planned to plant 1.2 million.
“This time around we are also focusing on trees that are growing naturally and working with traditional leaders to enforce by-laws that will guarantee protection from livestock, fires, and other dangers to ensure a high survival rate,” she said.
T/A Kasumbu said during the rainy season a lot of houses in her area are damaged by strong winds as trees that once surrounded them. have been cut down for charcoal burning, timber, and other uses.
“I will work with my fellow local leaders to sensitize communities on the importance of having trees and encourage them to plant more so that we can be protected,” she said.
During the launch, the council planted 300 trees from the 10,000 donated by Standard bank of Malawi.