“Distorted weather patterns and soil erosion have taken a toll on our livelihoods and we are aware of siltation and low water levels hampering electricity generation,” says Traditional Authority Sitola of Machinga District.
As one way of exercising its commitment to environmental management, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) takes part in afforestation activities. This is the second year that MERA is realising its afforestation efforts in collaboration with the Department of Forestry, communities in Mwanza and Machinga, and the respective district councils.
This year’s activities include taking care of the trees that were planted last year, replanting and planting of new seedlings. In total, MERA planted 21,000 trees last year and is planting 15,000 trees this year as requested by the District Forestry Offices.
The two districts of Machinga and Mwanza report an 80 and 40 percent survival rate of trees planted last year. Unlike Machinga where the seedlings were met with a favourable weather condition, the tree survival in Mwanza was affected by a dry spell.
Beyond planting of trees, MERA also provides the two districts with support for associated tree management efforts including such activities as weeding and fire breaking.
In January, MERA Board Chair Rt. Reverend Dr. Joseph Bvumbwe inspected the progress made in Mwanza and was guest of Honour at the tree planting ceremony held at TA Sitola’s headquarters in Machinga.
The ceremony was patronised by the community and officials from Machinga District Council and Foresrty Office, the Deputy Director of Forest – South Mrs Cecilia, Mr David Lally MP, ward Councillor Mr Makwinja, and representatives of the Association of Environmental Journalists.