President Peter Mutharika has warned people in the country against cutting down trees in protected areas saying those found will face the full force of the law.
The Malawi leader issued the warning at Mkando in Mulanje on Wednesday when he launched the 2019/20 National Forestry Season.
Mutharika said his government’s efforts to restore Malawi’s forests are being sabotaged by those who illegally harvest trees from the protected areas.
In his speech, the Malawi leader noted that climate change is already affecting the country.
“We used to have our rainy season beginning in October. Now rains are coming as late as December or January and they are not reliable. At many times, we have drought, leading to food shortages. Climate Change is having devastating effects,” said Mutharika.
He then urged Malawians to plant trees and conserve forests as a way of fighting climate change which he said has
“Forests give us the fresh air we need to live. Forests protect the land where we grow our crops from degradation. Forests are sources of rivers where we get water to irrigate our crops, use in our homes and produce electricity.
“Forests give us timber for construction and wood for cooking and heating. Forests bring rain for our farms. Forests protect our lives from floods,” he said.
During the event, Mutharika planted mango and Mulanje Cedar trees at the new Thuchila Health Centre.
Malawi has suffered four natural disasters in the past five years including a drought in 2015, floods in 2016 and dry spells which allowed fall armyworms to thrive in the 2017/2018 growing season.
In March this year, Malawi was hit by Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth which directly affected one million people and led to 60 deaths.
Mutharika told the Climate Change Summit in Spain earlier this month that Malawi’s agro-based economy has failed to withstand the natural disasters.