1.3 million trees plated under Masaf 4 in Lilongwe

Lilongwe, Over 1 million trees have been planted during the first cycle of the Public Works Programme under Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF) 4 in Lilongwe district, Malawi News Agency (MANA) has learnt.

The District Council received funding amounting to K672 million from the Local Development Fund (LDF) for implementation of regular and emergency Public Works whose main focus was on environmental conservation.

The District council had distributed seeds for the communities to raise their own tree seedling nurseries in September 2016.

These tree seedlings are the ones that have been planted and so far we have planted 1, 320,333 trees, explained the council’s Director of Public Works, Sydney Chiphaka.

Chiphaka said a total of 328 sub projects under the forestry sector have been implemented under the programme which saw communities undertaking activities on afforestation sub-projects such as bush clearing, tree planting, making of fire breaks around community forests among others.

This makes the total number of trees planted in the district this year alone at over 4 million as the District Forestry Office sourced over three million tree seedlings most of which were indigenous varieties which have been planted during this tree planting season.

District Forestry Officer Tresa Mvula said indigenous varieties were preferred because they are good in moisture retention as compared to exotic ones so they can conserve catchment areas along Lilongwe, Nathenje and Nanjiri rivers among others.

She explained that there is an expectation of a higher survival rate this year as compared to last year’s because of the good rains the district has experienced.

She said her office is working hand in hand with extension workers in various areas of the district so that the planted trees are well taken care of to achieve a higher survival rate.

Last year, the district planted two and half million trees, 70 percent of which survived, a development she attributed to the dry spell.

Environmental District Officer, Biswick Mlaviwa described the MASAF 4 sub projects in the forest sector, as important as they will go a long way in increasing forest cover and improve water and soil conservation thereby contributing to increased food production at household level.

Director of Planning and Development, Douglas Moffat said the other subprojects implemented were from roads, fisheries, environment, irrigation and agriculture sectors.

Under both the regular and emergency Public works Program, a total of 37,377 beneficiaries were identified and participated in the district.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA