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Provincial Newspapers Telegraph

Climate change affecting tree planting targets


WHILE the country continues to observe national tree planting, statistics show that this
year there will be less trees planted compared to previous years.

The Forestry Commission, this year set a target of 5.2million trees, but only 1.4m have
been planted so far.

Mashonaland West Provincial Forestry Extension Manager, Esther Sandra Magumeni,
said they still have a number of trees in the nursery awaiting to be planted but due to
climate change there appears to be delays in the uptake of seedlings.

"We had a target of planting 5million trees by now, but we have only managed to do
1.4million with about 3.8million trees in the nursery. Due to climate changes, we are
experiencing shortage of rainfall. We need rain to be able to plant these trees, she

While officiating at the national tree planting day event in Mhondoro-Ngezi at Wanganui
High School, Mashonaland West Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution,
Marian Chombo, said the delay in the rains is affecting the tree planting programme.

She stressed the importance of trees being planted, pointing out the impact of
deforestation, mainly being caused by tobacco farmers, who fell trees they use in curing
tobacco, and charcoal sellers.

Here in Mashonaland West Province, we are experiencing hazardous tree cutting that’s
being done haphazardly because we are the biggest grower of tobacco. We constitute
30 percent and most farmers use firewood, especially in Hurungwe area, where we are
experiencing rampant cutting of trees and they don't replant to replenish.

Climate change is hampering our efforts to plant trees because of the rains. We have
not yet reached half our target as the province, but we are hoping that if the rains come
before December 31, we will be able to do our best to plant the remaining trees.

“This year, we are planting Muunga tree and we have children here, teaching them the
importance of planting trees and their benefits, how to conserve the land and avoid
stream bank cultivation," explained Chombo.

Mashonaland West has a high record of tree cutting, especially in Sanyati and
Mhondoro districts because of the Mopane trees, which are used for charcoal that
merchants sell in Harare.

“We have noted, statistically, more trees being cut down because of closeness to
Harare, where they sell firewood and charcoal from Mopane trees. There is need for
Police force and EMA to mount roadblocks and make sure these trucks do not transport
to Harare so that we curb this rampant tree cutting," said Minister Chombo.

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