The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Lets Conserve Trees - Nhema

Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister Francis Nhema has urged the public to help conserve trees and protect them from veldfires. Speaking to journalists ahead of the National Tree Planting Day set for Saturday, Minister Nhema said he expected more trees to be planted this year.

"The target for this season is 12 million trees and I am confident we will surpass with ease if we adopt the 'Every Zimbabwean a tree strategy'. I urge traditional leaders to be in the forefront of this campaign just as they did last season," said Minister Nhema.

The theme for this year is "Grow and Conserve Trees-Sustain Livelihoods". Minister Nhema said there should be a strong awareness campaign to plant and conserve natural resources. The National Tree Planting Day would this year be commemorated at Nyamandlovu Secondary School in the Umguza district of Matabeleland North province. Meanwhile, about 180 people from different organisations left Harare on Wednesday on a 'walkathon' expected to end with a tree planting exercise at Mutoko High School in Mashonaland East today.

On the way, they planted trees at Juru Cemetery in Chikwaka on Wednesday before planting more trees at Murewa Primary School yesterday. They were expected to put up for the night at Murewa High School from where they would walk to Mutoko. The group will plant more trees at Zhombwe Primary School on its way to Mutoko.

One of the organisers of the event, Ms Patience Fusire of Nyaradzo Funeral Assurance, yesterday said they were making steady progress though some of the walkers were beginning to show signs of fatigue.

"The group comprises 125 men and 55 women. About half of the members of group are veterans from the 2010 walkathon, while the remainder comprises debutantes, so you can understand how they are feeling at the moment," she said.

"Of note is the Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mike Bimha who is also walking with us to demonstrate the importance of tree planting to all the people of Zimbabwe."

The group is made up of representatives from Allied Youth Groups, Corporate Social Responsibility International Group, Action 24, Forestry Commission, the Airforce of Zimbabwe represented by Air Commodore Innocent Chiganze, musicians and the corporate world.

Ms Fusire said they had targeted to plant 7 500 trees by the end of the walkathon, but the number was set to drop following advice by the Forestry Commission to reduce the number and curtail losses due to wilting as some places do not have water.

An official with Forestry Commission Clara Chari said the exercise was meant to conscientise Zimbabweans on the need to plant trees to curb deforestation and the effects of global warming.

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