Local NGO empowers communities with 300,000 indigenous trees in Mzimba


With a rise in cases of  flash floods and soil erosion due to deforestation as a result of population pressure and demand for cultivation land, communities under Group Village Headman, Smart Chimaliro from Traditional Authority Mthwalo in Mzimba district have embarked on a reforestation drive.

The tree planting exercise is aimed at restoring forest cover in Somonthera Hills in Choma in the district with indigenous trees which have also been depleted by charcoal burners plying their trade in Mzuzu City.

The exercise has been possible with support from a local non-governmental organization based in Ekwendeni called Rural Development Partners (RDP) which has provided over 300,000 indigenous tree seedlings to ten villages.

According to GVH Smart Chimaliro, communities under his area have realized the importance of trees hence the decision to partner RDP in this exercise.

“We are going to take extra care of these indigenous trees, our area is experiencing the effects of desertification because our hills are bare leading to perennial soil erosion affecting our harvests, the grounds are no longer fertile,” he said.

He added that people in his area are now practicing climate smart agriculture and crop diversification through cultivation of crops like groundnuts, maize and cassava which do not need the use of firewood like flue cured tobacco.

On his part, RDP’s Executive Director, Daniel Nyirenda said the tree planting campaign comes as one way of implementing policies that are going to change people’s livelihoods especially during this era of climate and facilitating bylaws aimed at protecting the trees,” Nyirenda said.

Some of the trees being planted are ‘mibawa,’ ‘msangu’ and ‘mthethe’ which are resilient to climate change and also support smart agriculture.

Rural Development Partners is a local, Non-Governmental Organization established in 2015 and works in partnership with other organizations implementing integrated projects in Malawi. With financial support from TSN Groen and Kimon from the Netherlands.

The tree planting also falls under the National Forestry Season which runs from 15th December to 15th April. The objective of the national forestry season is to encourage Malawians to care for trees and forests for the sustenance of the present and the future.