February 2, 2019
The forests in Malawi play an important role in the livelihoods of many communities and in the economic development of the country. These forests provide energy, food, timber, non-timber products. They also contribute to wealth and health at household, community and national levels. The forests resources in Malawi contribute up to about 4.4% of the GDP if sustainably managed. According to the report from Department of Climate Change Management, the rate of deforestation in Malawi is at about between 1.0 to 2.8% per annum. Furthermore, the National Charcoal Strategy 2017-2027, indicates that more than 97% Malawian households use charcoal or firewood for cooking.
The Dzalanyama Forest Reserve (hereinafter DFR) is one of the important forest reserves in Malawi. The DFR is a source of a number of rivers that supply water to Lilongwe City and a source of livelihoods and biodiversity. DFR is one of the most threatened natural ecological systems as most of its trees cut illegally for firewood and charcoal production. These activities affect the environment and has potential devastating effects on water quality and quantity. To avert the looming catastrophic water deficit for the Lilongwe City and deforestation of Dzalanyama, JICA started Technical Cooperation Project called Conservation and Sustainable Management of Dzalanyama Forest Reserve (hereinafter Project).
Trees are vital as they contribute to the environment as well as conserving water. The project has a number of activities and one of them is the tree planting that aims at reversing the current state of the DFR. The tree planting exercise in DFR started in 2015. This tree planting exercise is important to this project as well as the county because through this exercise we can assist in conserving the wetlands and continue supply water to the Lilongwe city. At national level, the tree planting will be able to assist in combating climate change effects and generate income for the country.
The Office of the President and Cabinet (hereinafter OPC), Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) and the Project have since collaborated in an annual event of this tree planting in DFR. This year's (2019) tree planting took place on 2nd February 2019. The theme for 2019 tree planting was "Conserve Dzalanyama Forest-Secure Water, Food and Environment". The Project Team has been heavily involved in the organisation of the tree planting in collaboration with OPC and Lilongwe Water Board. There were also many other stakeholders from both public and private sectors as well as the local community that took part in the tree planting exercise.
The tree planting ceremony had the attendance of the Japanese Ambassador to Malawi, Her Excellency Kae Yanagisawa, JICA Malawi Resident Representative Mr Koichi Kito and some of the top Malawi government officials for example, Chief Secretary to the Government, Mr. Lloyd Muhara, Secretary for Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Mr. Patrick Matanda, Chairperson of the Lilongwe Water Board, Reverend. Dr. Edward Chitsonga, Chief Executive Officer, Lilongwe Water Board, Engineer Alphonso Chikuni, Inspector General of Police, Mr. Rodney Jose and Traditional Authority Masumbankhunda. Apart from the tree planting, there were also activities that included songs by the Japanese Volunteer
Please refer to the pictures below that taken during the tree planting exercise.
The Japanese Ambassador to Malawi Her Excellence Kae Yanagisawa, watering the tree after planting (left) and the Resident Representative, Mr Koichi Kito (right) planting a tree during the function.
The Chief Secretary to Government Mr Lloyd Muhara (left) being assisted by the Deputy Director of Forestry Mr Thomas Makhambela and Members of the Malawi Defence Force (right) also took part in the excise. This is part of the Government of Malawi' commitment
The Chief Secretary to Government Mr Lloyd Muhara (second from left), The Principal Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Mr Patrick Matanda (third from left and The Japanese Ambassador to Malawi Her Excellence Kae Yanagisawa (forth from left, viewing the products from Maluso Cooperative Union, under OVOP Programme.
The Japanese Volunteer, Tanaka (on right), performing a song during the tree planting excise, the song was about the need and importance of conserving the environment.