By Synd Kalimbuka
Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources Nancy Tembo has called on stakeholders to work together in protecting Zomba Mountain plantation where bushfire recently destroyed 50.7 hectares of forest.
Almost every year, bush fire destroys big part of Zomba mountain including forest reserves especially the area owned by government due to shortage of human resources.
Tembo during the visit to the plantation on Monday, commended Zomba based Timber Cooperatives for the role they are playing in preserving Zomba forest.
She said Chivunde and Mulunguzi Timber Cooperatives have good strategy to manage the plantation example being their allocated plots which are not facing challenges such as bush fires and illegal harvesting of trees.
“I am very much impressed with the two cooperatives as demonstrated by their commitment in managing the plantation.
“What I like most is their passion as business people to regenerate the plantation,” said Tembo.
The minister wishes Malawi could have more of such cooperatives saying it could bring change in plantation management.
She then urged forest officials in the district to give the two cooperatives the visibility by taking them to other plantations to share experiences.
Tembo also called Malawians to realize that Zomba plateau is Malawi’s heritage as visitors from other countries come to Malawi just to see its beauty.
In addition, she pledged more support to the plan by Southern Region Water Board to start managing Mulunguzi marsh which is the source of Mulunguzi river which takes water to Mulunguzi dam.
Chairperson for Mulunguzi Cooperative Edwin Chitimbe assured the minister that they will continue to take care of the plantation especially in all their allocated plots because their business depend on such care.
“Our role is to preserve the plantation so that our business survives,” he said.