President Lungu saddened with rising levels of deforestation
President Edgar Lungu has called for a change of mindset among Zambians in order to curb rising levels of deforestation in the country.
President Lungu says there is need for the country to abandon established traditional practices of uncontrolled cutting down of trees for charcoal.
ZANIS reports that President Lungu said this when he launched the Zambia Plant a million trees initiative at Kapasa Makasa University in Chinsali District , Muchinga Province.
President Lungu said it is prudent for the country to plant trees in order to create a tree based economy to help address rising climate change in line with the 7NDP which is premised on economic diversification.
Mr Lungu said the initiative which seeks to plant a minimum one million trees will contribute to reducing deforestation and enhance the country’s afforestation programme.
The Head of State praised the Ministry of Lands and Natural resources for implementing the initiative with the private sector.
He said continued cutting down of trees threatens the environment and national security.
President Lungu has since directed Lands and Natural resources minister Jean Kapata to employ an integrated and participatory approach of working with other line ministries and the traditional leadership to scale up and accelerate the planting of a million trees initiative across the country.
The President said learners at schools, colleges and universities and community members must be involved in planting trees in order to protect the environment as well as earn income through backyard orchards.
Mr Lungu pointed out that despite Zambia being one of the most heavily forested countries in the world, it has environmental challenges that are affecting the national economy.
He said his government will ensure that the tree planning on the country is prioritised by all citizens in line with the PF manifesto of supporting sustainable use and management of natural resources.
And Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Jean Kapaya said her ministry will work with schools, colleges, universities and communities to ensure that 100 million trees are planted by 2021.
Ms. Kapata said the initiative will help contribute to food security and improved livelihoods of Zambians.
The minister said Zambia is on course in arresting deforestation following the implementation of several land and environmental management interventions.
Speaking at the same function Higher Education Minister directed that all students at colleges and universities in the country will plant 100 trees per day for three days this year to help achieve the goal of planting a million trees.
Provincial Minister Malozo Sichone said his administration has put in place measures to plant 700,000 trees in the province.
Mr Sichone said the initiative has potential to improve the economic wellbeing of people in rural areas.
Chief Executive Officer of Zambia Plant a million trees Emmanuel Chibesakunda said he was inspired to develop the initiative because of his desire to leave a green legacy for the future generation.
Mr Chibesakunda appealed to government to ensure that Zambians explore the potential of setting up industries from planting trees of economic worth through value addition.
He disclosed that Zambia’s first President Dr Kenneth Kaunda had agreed to the goodwill ambassador of the initiative.
And giving a vote of thanks, Copperbelt University Vice Chancellor Professor Naison Ngoma said there is need for concerted efforts to halt Zambia’s rising deforestation rate of Bout 300, 000 hectares annually.
President Lungu was accompanied by Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe, Eastern Province Minister Makebi Zulu and his Press Aide Amos Chanda.
In attendance at the launch was Senior Chief Nkula, Chiefs Nkweto and ChibesaKunda, senior government and party oficials