‘Charcoal licensing to protect natural trees’

The Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining’s newly-introduced charcoal licensing system will help to protect natural trees from depletion as a result of charcoal burning and as a business.

Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Deputy Minister Werani Chilenga said this during a tree planting exercise by Malawi Weather Chasers at Msambo Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Chimutu in Lilongwe on Thursday.

Chilenga waters a tree after planting it

He said the ministry introduced the system after noting that banning charcoal production would not be easy, considering the growing demand for energy in the country.

Said Chilenga: “What we do is that those with woodlots come to the ministry and apply for a license and after inspection, we grant them the license to burn and sell charcoal and, in this way, we ensure that all natural tree charcoal is not available on the market.”

On his part, Malawi Weather Chasers chairperson Professor Sosten Chiotha said the group encourages communities and individuals to plant trees as a way of replenishing the environment and ensuring that weather and climate patterns are not disturbed.

“The major factor leading to climate change is depletion of trees and the only way to control the trend is by replacing them not only for fuel wood but also fruits. That is what we are promoting,” he said.

Weather Chasers is a social media group comprising environmental experts from various sectors. It was formed to monitor and track weather events as they evolve in different parts of the country.

Chiotha said the monitoring and tracking is done through the use of scientific and natural weather signals and how communities respond.

On Thursday, the group planted 5 000 trees in Msambo Village, one of the communities with an active village natural resource committee which has demonstrated capacity to protect forests through by-laws.

Earlier this month, the group also planted 6 000 trees around Chigumula Forest in Blantyre in response to government’s 2018/19 National Tree Planting Season currently underway.

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