Government through the Ministry of Natural Resources has expressed concern over the destruction of forest reserves in the country by individuals with malicious motives.
According to the ministry, the Viphya Plantation in Mzimba is the most at risk as over 1,000 hectares have so far been lost due to bushfires.
“This is a worrisome situation, quite disturbing and unfortunately remains the biggest challenge ever which the Department of Forestry annually faces,” the ministry said in a statement signed by its Principal Secretary Patrick Matanda.
The ministry added that the fires are generated by individuals who are bitter with the Ministry for taking a bold step in preserving and protecting the plantations and forests.
The Ministry then urged every citizen, traditional chiefs and stakeholders to cultivate a strong sense of patriotism and love towards sustainable forests management so that these plantations and forests across the country are safeguarded.
It also urged all Malawians of goodwill and passion to continue committing and investing their pride in the forestry sector to ensure that plantations and forest reserves are heavily protected against destructive practices such as uncontrolled bushfires and timber poaching.
“Anyone found doing so should be apprehended to face the long arm of the law,” reads part of the ministry’s statement.
The government has since said that it will continue to promote sustainable forest management in order to enhance private sector participation, community-based forest and ecosystem management, promote and effectively sustain industrial forest plantations while enforcing against any destructive tendencies on the forests.