By Aliko Munde – MANA
Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources Nancy Tembo says she is impressed with Raiply Malawi Limited’s investment in value addition of timber and wood waste.
The minister said this on Monday after touring Raiply Company Limited concession areas and the factory.
Tembo said Raiply Malawi Limited’s investment is contributing to the country’s economy.
“Raiply is contributing to the socio-economic development of the country through value addition and development of an export market and creation of employment,” she said.
She disclosed that government is in the process of strengthening the role of the private sector in the management of forest resources in order to restore 4.5 million hectares of degraded forest landscapes in the country.
“I have heard the challenges of forest fire and illegal harvesting of wood. We really need to intensify civic education to surrounding communities,” Tembo said.
Government engaged Raiply in the 1990s, initially as a private company, which was believed to have the competence and capacity to invest in sustainable forest management and value addition.
Raiply Malawi Limited Public Relations Officer, Dalitso Chimwala, said the company was trying its best to restore the man-made forest popularly known as Chikangawa Forest.
He said Raiply has lost 200 hectares of pine trees to forest fire this year alone, a development he described as a setback in the afforestation drive.
“We have 20, 000 hectares under our concession but 200 hectares of pine trees have been destroyed due to forest fire. There are other unpatriotic Malawians who are doing this just to frustrate our efforts,” he complained.