Nsanje, Nsanje District Forestry Office is baffled by the continued depletion of the district’s Matandwe Forestry Reserve; a development the office fears could expose the district to more natural calamities.
In an interview on Monday, the District’s Assistant Forestry Officer, John Kaweta Banda, said the forest reserve is heavily encroached despite the employment of a participatory forest management policy where government partners with surrounding communities collaborate in managing the forest.
While we are trying our best to control the depletion of Matandwe Forest Reserve, we are very concerned with its abuse. Some communities are even cultivating their crops in the forest reserve, said Banda.
The Forestry Office has since warned that they will use force by engaging the services of Malawi Defense Force (MDF) to help bring sanity at the reserve.
We cannot afford to entertain such malpractices. We feel that enough is enough and what we are thinking of is to try and engage the Malawi Defense Force so that they provide maximum security and try to control the malpractice, he said.
Through a press release over the weekend, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining said government is concerned that some people are opening gardens and illegally constructing structures in forest reserves and protected forest areas.
The Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining wishes to inform the general public that under the Forestry Act (Cap 63.01), it is an offence to clear, cultivate, dig or break up land in gazzetted forest reserves and protected forests without permission, reads the statement in part signed by the Principal Secretary for the Ministry, Patrick Matanda.
The Ministry further warns that it will destroy without prior notice any crops illegally cultivated in the protected forest reserves.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA