A grouping called Concerned Citizens in Mzuzu has called on government to review the concession it granted to Raiply Malawi Limited in the Viphya Plantation so that a part of the plantation should be given to locals.
During a press briefing in Mzuzu on Friday, the group’s chairperson Ackeem Kachilika said government should consider the locals because it is their grandparents who planted the trees in the forest and to allow the local people’s businesses should benefit from the plantation
Kachilika said the group will hold demonstrations on 8th June at the plantation and they will present their petition to the plantation manager.
“Our concerns are very small actually, what we are saying here is we want to have a balance of equation where Malawians are allowed to cut timber to help small scale businesses,” he said.
Rodrick Phoya who transports timber from Chikangawa to various places locally said currently they are not allowed to transport timber from the forest because it is closed to local transporters.
“We are pleading with Government to give locals a portion so that they can start cutting these timbers. If they start cutting, we as transporters will also benefit since Raiply always uses foreign transporters,” he said.
Phoya said transporters, timber sellers and other business owners who rely on the forest will also join the demonstrations.
In the past, Timber Millers Association was given portion of the forest to cut timber after the group pressurized government.