Speaking at his Chidzenje Headquarters during a tree planting exercise organized by Tobacco Commission, Lukwa said it is worrying that millions of trees are planted each year but they do not grow to full life because they are not taken care of.
Said Lukwa: “We must take environmental conservation seriously. There is no way we can plant trees and leave them like that hoping they will grow on their own in the wild. After planting, we must come back and tend to them. Otherwise, our efforts will be in vain.
“For my area, I want every child, every household, every school, everyone to plant trees and take care of them. We must contribute to efforts meant to mitigate the effects of climate change. It starts with planting a tree.”
Lukwa who is also the chairperson for Traditional Leaders on Wildlife and Conservation in Africa also donated 3000 tree seedlings to be planted in schools within his jurisdiction.
He said Kasungu as a district has experienced massive deforestation due to tobacco farming activities hence the need to plant more trees to replenish the destroyed environment.
Commissioner for Tobacco Commission Christiana Kawala said tobacco buyers will only buy the leaf from countries that are serious about the environmental conversation.
“Tobacco remains a top earner of foreign currency for our country but it is the same crop that also leads to the cutting down of trees. So we must go flat out planting trees. On our part as Tobacco Commission, we intend to plant 40 000 trees across the country during this planting season,” she said.
Over 3000 trees were planted during the exercise which was attended by school-going children, teachers, district council officials, chiefs, and members of the community.
The 2019 Tobacco Act prescribes the growing of trees on at least one-tenth of the tobacco farmland.
President Lazarus Chakwera launched the 2022/23 tree planting season on 23 December last year under the theme ‘restore degraded forest landscapes for livelihood security’.