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Wednesday, 29 August 2018 16:03

Expert optimistic Malawi will beat land restoration targets

Written by  Nellie Kapatuka in Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, August 29, 2018: A Malawian Forestry expert has expressed optimism that the country will beat its land restoration target by 2030.

Principal Forestry Officer in the Department of Forestry, Tangu Isabel Tumeo, told Malawi News Agency (Mana) in an interview on Tuesday after making a presentation at the 3rd Africa Land Restoration Initiative currently meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

Malawi made a commitment to restore 4.5 million hectares of land of the 350 million hectares to be restored world wide by 2030 as agreed by nations at the 2011 Bonn Challenge in Germany.

Tumeo said Malawi has already started producing positive results, saying 1 million hectares of land have already been declared restored in Salima and Dowa among some five central region districts which were recently assessed during a mapping of farmer-managed natural regeneration commissioned by the World Agroforestry Centre.

“Honestly, I have so much confidence that as a country, we will beat the target we set to restore 4.5 million hectares of land by 2030.

“In fact, Malawi has lots of programmes on land restoration taking place, as every year, different stakeholders are involved in tree-planting activities. With proper coordination, especially in monitoring, making sure we don’t just plant but also make sure we maintain and sustain those trees, we will surely achieve more,” said Tumeo.

Tumeo said government is currently encouraging the use of public – private – partnership (PPP) to manage plantations in protected areas so that everyone and every sector is on board in an attempt to move to large scale land restoration.

She observed that with improved stakeholder agreement and proper targets, a lot can be achieved, hence the appeal to all partners involved to cooperate so that they achieve the goal of restoring Malawi’s vegetative cover.

Before the AFR100 meeting, delegates visited Karura and Blackenhurst forests, some of the forests under restoration in Kenya where exotic trees are being replaced by a wide range of African indigenous trees.

Tumeo cited initiatives by the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust as a similar project to those being implemented in Kenya where local non-governmental organisations take a leading role to ensure that protected areas like Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve are restored.

According to Tumeo, government has set aside K5 billion in the 2018/19 budget towards the Youth Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative where the youth across the country would be involved in planting, not only trees but also fruit trees, particularly in degraded and deforested areas.

Principal Programme Officer for New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development, one of the organizations with a lead role in the initiative, Mamadou Moussa Diakite emphasized the need for countries to start implementing sustainable interventions on land restoration.

Diakite said NEPAD as a lead agency, was putting together monitoring mechanisms for it to be able to follow progress being made by individual countries.

“Several countries have made their pledges towards land restoration and now it is time to start implementing the action plans put in place.

“Land restoration, especially in Africa, has a wide range of advantages, including improving food security. So, it is important for countries to put much effort towards achieving their pledges,” Diakite emphasised.

Malawi’s degraded land was at 7.8 million hectares in 2017. The pledged 4.5 million hectares of land to be restored by 2030 is nearly half of Malawi’s total land area.

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