Dedza, February 23: Dedza herbalist association, a grouping of over 2000 traditional medicine practitioners in the district, are set to plant 5000 trees this tree planting season, the group’s president said in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Saturday.
Masiyambuyo Njolomole said herbalists’ business will be on the verge of extinction if they do not participate in planting trees which can help reduce rampant deforestation in the country.
“We feel our trade is being endangered by escalating deforestation. In the past we used to source medicine in the country but now we are travelling as far as Mozambique where there are still large tracts of forests,” he said.
Masiyambuyo Njolomole advised herbalists in other districts to plant their own trees.
“While everyone is concerned about climate change caused by deforestation, every herbalist’s additional concern should be ‘how will I be able to earn a living without forests,’” he said.
He said they have bought tree seedlings including such species as mulinga, blue gum, pine and baobab in addition to some therapeutic plants.
Asked why they are including “ordinary” trees instead of concentrating on therapeutic plants Njolomole said every tree has medicinal parts which they use to treat various ailments.
“We also harvest the trees for firewood used to prepare concoctions for our clients,” he said.
He added that forests provide cover for some medicinal plants which are so fragile that they cannot survive if they grow in the open.
Dedza is home to Dzalanyama forest which is being cleared wantonly by charcoal burners and firewood sellers who reportedly have a lucrative market in Lilongwe.