Government in partnership with Worldwide Fund for Nature Zambia (WWF) has commenced the implementation of the 1.2 million Euros Forests Landscape Restoration Project (FLRP) in Western Province.
WWF Coordinator, Abel Siampale expressed optimism that the five-years project that is aimed at restoring the depleted forests in Silowana complex of Sioma and Sesheke districts will achieve the desired objectives due to the support shown by the communities.
Mr Siampale stated that the project will fully embrace the ideas generated by the communities in the targeted areas.
Mr Siampale said this at Mutemwa area in Sesheke district during the participatory mapping exercise which marked the beginning of the green recovery tailored programme.
He projected that the programme will go beyond its initial target of 13 villages that are grouped in three Village Action Groups (VAGs) to more, because of the pressing need to address the degraded and deforested areas.
“This project as you can see has begun with the participatory mapping activities that will further see the development of organized maps that will ease the process of sharing the resource in these communities. We anticipate to restore 37,000 hectares of land with the Silowana Complex and this will be done within the lifespan of the programme,” he explained.
“As a team implementing the programme, we are so far confident that the programme will come to fruition looking at the commitment shown so far by community members here in Lusu and Mutemwa communities,” he stressed.
Mr Siampale pointed out that of the 990,000 hectares of land that covers the Silowana Complex, 30-35 percent is covered by forest areas that urgently require restoration having been depleted as a result of agricultural expansion activities, timber harvests and other forms of deforestation.
And Seseheke District Commissioner (DC), Sililo Namawa said the region has a lot of illegal timber business being a border town hence interventions from other stakeholders are welcome.
Mr Namawa said the programme will be fully implemented hand in hand with his office and the traditional leadership.
“As government, we are happy with you WWF and the interventions you have brought, will help our farmers through trainings and other sustainable livelihoods activities,” he noted.
Meanwhile, members of Mutemwa and Lusu communities both welcomed the programme which they said will help safeguard their natural resources.
Mutemwa Village Induna, Patson Matengu assured that he and the other community members will support the programme to the fullest.
He recalled that decades ago the area had thick forests but has over the years been depleted by people who do not mean well to nature.
“We are here to inform you that, we used to have a lot of trees here but most of which are cut by some people who do not even come from here. Your coming as FLRP is timely and will work with you to save the remaining natural resources and also restore the depleted ones as you have clearly stated in the preamble,” said the Induna.
Pius Mutanda and Catherine Masupa both from Lusu Village said the participatory community sketch mapping exercise signaled their relentless support to the programme.
The duo emphasized that the programme will be a success as it has been owned by the community members and will benefit generations to come.
The Forest Landscape Restoration Project that was launched on October 29, 2020 will also benefit at least 1,000 small holder farmers in the surrounding districts through training.
The FLRP is also being implemented in Kenya and Tanzania as part of the regional programme that aims at regional exchange of experiences on Forests Landscape restoration among the three countries.