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Farm Concern International (FCI) attracted 150 participants from different developmental sectors to plant over 4,000 trees in Malawi. Two schools, Namatamba Primary School in Zomba and Namitete Primary School in Thyolo Districts, were identified as the most susceptible to flooding effects leading to the tree planting exercise at the sites.  

The two districts have suffered for a long time during the windy seasons. House roofs have occasionally been blown off resulting to injuries, loss of lives and property. The recent incident occurred at Namatamba Primary School in November 2014 leading to property destruction and time wastage before normalcy was restored. The occurrence was attributed to bear ground which exposed the school to direct wind and sunshine.

The tree planting exercise, both in Chisomo and Matchuwana Commercial Villages on 17th and 19th February 2015 respectively, was carried out in collaboration with Mulanje Conservation Trust (MCT), Department of Forestry, Commercial Village Trade Facilitators (CVTFs) and the community. 

The participants included officials from the Forestry Department, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Community Based Organizations, Community leaders and Farmers. The Forestry Development Officer (FDO), who presided over the event, trained the residents on the best method of planting trees insisting the importance of acquiring the skills to plant trees. 

“Trees planted by a person with technical skills have twice as much chance of survival than trees planted by one without skills,” he said.

The FDO also challenged the Ministry of Education to consider tree planting as a subject in the curriculum. “The pupils should learn how to plant trees, conserve soil, and the importance of trees to the environment,” he added.

The FCI team in Malawi, led by Charles Mphoyo, also seized the opportunity to educate the community on environmental conservation. In addition to training the community on the importance of planting trees, the FCI team discouraged the community on cultivating along the river banks citing the effect of massive soil erosion which follows as a result.

Steve Nix, a forestry Expert, enumerates a few number of benefits of trees like: producing the oxygen we breathe, cleaning the soil by absorbing dangerous chemicals and pollutants that enter the soil, controlling noise pollution, slowing the storm of runoff water, and sinking carbon to avert global warming effects. In addition, trees help in wind breaking, reduce soil erosion, add beauty to the environment and cleanse the air by intercepting airborne particles. These, among many other benefits, bolster our efforts since conserving the environment is one of FCI’s main objectives.

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