By Bester Kayaye
National Bank of Malawi (NBM) has signed a five year forest management agreement with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change which has seen the Bank committing a sum of K100 million towards sustainable management of three forest reserves.
The agreement which has been signed under the Ministry’s initiated project “Adopt a Forest Initiative’ will foster sustainable management of the Seven Hills in Dedza, Jembya Forest Reserve in Chitipa and Palm Forest in Mangochi.
Under the ‘Adopt a Forest Initiative,’ private institutions are asked to sign short to medium term agreements to restore degraded forests of their choice as part of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Speaking during the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony held at Dedza Post Office, Minister of Natural Resources and Climate Change Eisenhower Mkaka commended the Bank for investing in the Initiative stressing the need for mutual partnerships among government, communities and the private sector in sustainable forest management and land use.
Mkaka said government is committed to facilitate regeneration of over 4.5 million hectares of land by 2030.
He explained: “This MoU is very crucial because government alone cannot achieve the restoration agenda. With private sector partners like NBM we are on the move to restore all degraded sites across Malawi.”
“The Bank’s support is timely, because government needs partners to intensify restoration of degraded forest landscapes in all parts of the country.”
He urged District Forestry Officers for Dedza, Mangochi and Chitipa to provide high class advisory and extension services to beneficiary communities so that the Adopt a Forest Initiative should be a success story.
In his statement, Deputy CEO for NBM Harold Jiya said the Bank is committed to compliment government efforts in restoration of forests through planting and taking care of trees.
Jiya said; “We decided to invest because we appreciate the impact that climate change has made on livelihoods across the globe and Malawi is not exceptional, once people suffer climate related calamities it falls back on us as corporate entities because we rely on the same people to stay in business.”
“Therefore we thought it wise to invest to control the impact of climate change, and we have adopted three forest reserves covering 1,500 hectares of land in which we are to plant trees.”
He also emphasized the need for multi-stakeholder approach in combating intense climate change related uncertainties.
“Environmental management is possible only if all stakeholders responsible in this avenue are actively participating including communities which are supposed to be custodians of these initiatives. As NBM, we intend to involve them throughout the whole process,” Jiya said.