Tobacco Levy improving forest management

Tobacco Levy improving forest management

By: Gift Chimulu

Tobacco Levy, a forest management and restoration Programme being implemented in selected tobacco growing districts has been applauded for improving forest management membership base in the lake-shore district of Mangochi.

In an interview, Forestry Assistant Officer for Mangochi, Mr. Fyson Khomeni, said prior to the program’s inception in 2017 less community members had the zeal in forest management hence affecting the district’s efforts in afforestation.

Citing an overwhelming boom in forest management membership base at Luwalika Village Natural Resources Management Committee (VNRMC) currently having 70 members from its initial membership of 10 members adding the development is worth smiling for.

While attributing current membership statistics to the project’s sustainability concept, Khomeni feels the communities have also being motivated through provision of nursery, and forest management tools through Tobacco Levy Programme.

He Said “The Programme has brought excitement to the community members through its intervention in which beneficiary committees are being given tree nursery production tools, rarely provided by programs targeting such committees”.

In her remarks Liwalika VNRMC chair lady, Jamale Mtawanga said an increase in the workforce has positively impacted forest management of Luwalika Village Forest Area where tree planting and management of regenerants are being main managerial interventions.

She said "currently the committee has managed to expand its management capacity from 10 to 83 hectares currently under management".

The Tobacco Afforestation Levy was enacted by the Malawi Parliament to support the Department of Forestry and the forestry sector to carry out forest establishment and management activities covering forest resources both indigenous and planted.

In his comment Tobacco Levy fund controlling officer at the Department of Forestry, Titus Zulu said the fund has improved management of forests in both customary forests and plantations across the country.

Apart from Mangochi, The Tobacco Levy afforestation programme is also implemented in 8 other districts namely: Rumphi, Mzimba, Kasungu, Dowa, Mchinji, Lilongwe, Ntcheu and Balaka.