North-Western province Permanent Secretary, Willies Mangimela has called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to find resources and ensure that trees are not only protected but also planted in needy areas in the region.
Mr Mangimela who noted with concern the indiscriminate cutting of trees for charcoal production, timber production and clearance of big pieces of land for cultivation said if left unchecked the acts have the potential to cause deforestation, poor agriculture production and climate change.
Mr Mangimela said this in Solwezi today in a speech read on his behalf by the deputy Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Chihili during the 2020-2021 tree planting ceremony at Solwezi General Hospital.
Mr Mangimela has since called on the forestry department to scale up patrols, community sensitization and tree planting and ensure all illegal acts are curbed.
“I would like to also call upon cooperating partners, the private sector and civil society organisations to continue partnering with government for sustainable forest management,” he said.
Mr Mangimela further called on the Ministry of Agriculture to sensitize farmers on sustainable farming without massive clearance of trees in order to protect the environment for the betterment of the current and future generations.
“Let us all remember that without trees there will be no healthy population, no cleaner air and poor environment will be the order of the day,” he said.
Mr Mangimela disclosed that government through the department of forestry has so far planted in excess of 40,000 assorted trees in various districts in the province during the 2020-2021 tree planting season.
“I am happy that we are here at Solwezi general hospital to establish a fruit orchard for the hospital where 500 assorted fruit trees shall be planted. This will improve the nutrition status of patients”, he said.
Meanwhile, Solwezi general hospital Medical Superintendent, Namwaka Mukunyandela expressed hope that the 500 fruit trees that will be planted will help the health facility to improve the nutrition status of the patients and thanked the cooperating partners for the gesture.
And Youth for Tomorrow Zambia Public Relations Officer, Ernest Chinjamba said his organization has partnered with the department of Forestry and Ministry of Health to promote afforestation after realizing that the rate at which trees are being indiscriminately cut is very worrying.
“What is happening here at Solwezi general hospital is just one of the things that we are doing to promote afforestation through establishment of fruit orchards. So these 500 trees is just a beginning,” Mr Chinjamba said.
He said the organization will be going round the whole country to plant trees in schools and hospitals to help increase the population of trees in the country.