By: Dyson Kamwana
Nkhotakota North East legislator Overstone Kondowe has cautioned community development structures to incorporate environmental components in their development proposals if they are to win funds for proposed projects under Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Kondowe said this Thursday at Kamwala Primary School, in the area of Senior Chief Kanyenda in Nkhotakota district, during the district’s tree planting season launch.
He said encouraging communities to embark on environment conservation activities, will help in minimizing the existing effects of climate change while restoring forests in the communities.
“Big International organizations such as World Bank encourage every beneficiary under their support to have an environmental conservation component. Now, we want to domesticate the policy because the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) has huge chunk of money which will probably contribute to deforestation for the construction of various infrastructures, hence the move,” Kondowe said.
Responding as to whether it is possible for the policy to be locally implemented under CDF, Kondowe said it is high time to revisit the provisions under CDF so that it also has a compulsory clause that will assist in fostering forest restoration in the country.
“No any law is written on the rock and this means that every law is prone to changes and modification for the benefit of the country. We need to do something about it and the time is now,” he said.
Nkhotakota District Forestry Officer (DFO) George Zibophe, said the district has been greatly affected by disasters resulting from climate change and has welcomed the idea saying will go a long way in restoring forests in the district.
Zibophe said his office is designing measures aimed at scaling up efforts that will compel citizens in the district and the nation at large to be aware of the dangers of deforestation.
“We are scaling up our efforts just to make sure that individuals are planting trees without relying on the government to inform them to do so. We are calling on residents in the district to take a step in planting trees during this year’s tree-planting season.
Zibophe revealed that the district planted over 1 million and five hundred thousand tree seedlings during the 2012-2022 National Forestry Season and about 71 percent of the total trees planted survived.
He indicated that the district has received about 20 thousand tree seedlings support from well-wishers to be planted across the district and has called upon other organizations to support the office with seedlings to surpass the figure.
The Nation Forestry Season is an annual exercise which starts from 15th December to 15th April championed by the Department of Forestry under the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change with the aim of restoring the destroyed forests in the country.
This year’s National Forestry Season was launched by His Excellence President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera on 23rd December 2023 at Palm Forest Reserve in Mangochi district and Department of Forestry revealed that it intends to restore 29 hectares of forest by planting 50 million trees and 9000 hectares of natural regeneration.
This years’ National Forestry Season is under the theme; Restore Degraded Forest Landscape for Livelihood Security.