EU blames deforestation on population growth

The European Union (EU) Country Representative, Marchel Germann, has called for serious intervention on the current rapid population growth, blaming the same for deforestation and poor forests management.

Germann made the call on Tuesday at Kadzungu Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kamenyagwaza, Dedza during the EU Tree Planting Day.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency, Germann explained that planting trees alone was not enough arguing that the current rate of population growth reflected on increased demand in the use of trees hence making it almost impossible to protect the forests and contain deforestation.

“One of the social economic issues the country is facing is population growth which makes it almost impossible to protect our forests so we can not only look at the protection of forest or reforestation in isolation but looking at the big picture,” explained Germann.

He added; “I believe that forestry is a very important sector in Malawi; it is a source of nutrition, income, and it helps in water conservation and prevention of floods.”

The EU representative has thus stressed the need for Malawi to start addressing population growth if the desired results in forest protection are to be achieved, further emphasizing priority on girl child education and family planning sensitisation as one critical measure.

Among its interventions, EU is currently in a project of Empowering Forest Dependent Communities through Commercialization Small Scale Forestry (EFDCCSF), which focuses on working with the communities.

Germann also disclosed that EU is an important supporter of the department of forestry and it was working with over 250 communities in six districts.

EU has over the last 20 years planted over 1.3 million indigenous trees and is protecting over 25 million trees with 250 trees planted so far under EFDCCSF.

In his remarks, Director of Forestry in the Department of Forestry, Dr Clement Chilima said the tree planting exercise was very significant for the communities and involvement of the development partners who took part in the exercise was an encouragement.

“This is something that the department of forestry is encouraging, the tree planting should not just be left in the hands of government but rather everybody to participate. We have seen a number of companies, organization, institutions planting trees,” said Chilima.

He also expressed optimism on the survival rate of the trees basing on this year’s promising good rains.

Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA