Forestry Commission targets planting 25 million trees this year
Harare (New Ziana) -The Forestry Commission is targeting to plant 25 million trees this year as it steps up efforts to replenish natural forests that are being destroyed by different human activities across the country.
In an interview with New Ziana, Forestry Commission public relations manager Violet Makoto said as part of the tree planting season activities, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to preside over the national tree planting day at a venue to be announced.
The annual event is usually held on the first Saturday of every December.
Makoto said trees will be planted through the different regimes with the plantation forestry, the fruit tree growing, and the horticulture sectors all included to add up to the 25 million target.
“The programmes lined up for this year, obviously, we have our national tree planting day itself, which is the launch of the tree planting season and we expect that event will be graced by our patron who is His Excellency the President Dr Emmerson Mnangagwa. As usual the President leads in launching the tree planting season,” she said, adding that they are still working on the logistics of the event.
She also revealed that the tree of the year is the fever acacia (Muwunga), a beautiful tree that is relevant in the various tree planting agendas that they have.
It can fit in the agro-forestry system which is one of the ways of mobilising tree planting, and it can also be used in inter cropping and improving soil fertility by farmers.
“It is also a tree that we are promoting in the beautification of towns and cities programme that was launched last year and this is where we intend to improve how our urban areas look. There has been a lot of deforestation that has happened in urban areas owing to settlement expansion and other factors,” she said.
Makoto said every year the country loses about 262 000 hectares of natural forests to various human activities such as veld fires, expansion for settlement, expansion for agriculture and the tobacco growing value chain, which she said contributed between 15 to 20 percent to the deforestation.
This year the theme is “Trees and Forests for Eco-System Restoration and Improved Livelihoods”, a five-year theme which has run from 2020 and will end in 2025.
“We chose this theme because it talks to some of the issues that are addressed though our National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) which is also ending in 2025 and as well observing that the United Nations declared the year 2020 to 2030 as the decade of the ecosystem restoration, it’s all encompassed in that theme,” explained Makoto.