26 April 2018
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Tuesday, 12 December 2017 13:01

Communities, govt sign deal on forest management

Written by  Grace Kapatuka
The two parties shaking hands after signing the agreement The two parties shaking hands after signing the agreement Pic by Grace Kapatuka - Mana

 

Ntcheu, December 12, 2017:  Communities in Ntcheu and the Department of Forestry office with assistance from United Purpose have signed an agreement aimed at conserving indigenous forests in the district.

Launching a five-year management plan for Kakhuta, Gongolo, Chilenje and Kachingwe forest blocks, District Commissioner for Ntcheu, Smart Gwedemula urged communities to ensure that they implement the developed plans.

“We Malawians are good at developing good plans but fail to implement them as planned. May I urge you that you implement your plans as stipulated in the documents we are launching today,” said Gwedemula.

The DC commended communities in the four forest blocks for the initiative, saying it was pleasing to note that they had taken up the responsibility to conserve indigenous forests in their areas.

Gwedemula asked the remaining forest blocks in the district to emulate the example set by the four communities from traditional authorities Kwataine and Mpando by developing their own forest management plans that will see the district’s forests being conserved.

District Forestry Officer, Lano Mariko, urged the concerned communities to sustainably manage their blocks so that in future they enjoy the forest products which he said will also assist in uplifting their living standards.

Mariko said if forests in the district are properly managed, there would be lots of forest products which communities could enjoy like firewood, fruits, traditional medicine and honey, among others.

In her remarks, Chisomo Sezza from United Purpose said the objective of developing management plans was to empower communities to manage, protect and sustainably utilise natural resources found in the blocks as advocated by the Forestry Policy of 1996.

In their remarks, traditional authorities Mpando and Kwataine commended United Purpose for facilitating the development of management plans, saying it would help restore the lost glory that the area had before forests were depleted.

The development of management plans follows the deteriorating status of some forests in the district over the past years due to frequent bush fires, overgrazing, encroachment through opening of farms and wanton cutting down of trees by communities for both, household and commercial purposes.

The signed agreement contains management plans and rules as well as fines to be paid by those that will go against the rules.

The plans were developed through participatory forest resource assessment (PFRA) conducted in the blocks through discussions with the communities, forest extension workers and respective traditional authorities.

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