The Minister of Finance says Lesotho is committed towards addressing issues relating to afforestation in an effort to reduce land degradation in the country.
Dr Moeketsi Majoro said this when addressing members of the United Nations family in Lesotho who were joint by some government officials and the local community at the tree planting activity that took place at Ha Mohlehli in the Qalabane Constituency in Mafeteng on Saturaday.
At the event, Dr Majoro spoke on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relation. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the United Nations Day normally marked on October 24 annually.
Dr Majoro said there were 2030 trees planted at Ha Mohlehli, saying the number symbolised the 2030 agenda for sustainable development that the international communirty is fully committed to implementing.
He appealed to the local community to protect the trees, saying each year during the national tree planting day, trees are planted in large numbers but unfortunately livestock destroy them through overgrazing.
The Minister pointed out that Lesotho government is therefore committed to work hard to ensure that land is covered with trees for soil conservation adding that the government is also fully committed to meeting the targets set towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals which covers a number of sectors including environment protection.
He acknowledged the support of many initiatives that the UN Agencies in Lesotho are supporting the government with citing the development of the National Strategic Development Plan and Constitutional Reform Process to mention a few.
Speaking at the same event, the Minister of Forestry and Land Reclamation Mr. Motlohi Maliehe urged the local authorities including the chiefs and the newly elected Community Councilors to work jointly to ensure that the area planted with trees is protected for the improvement of the land which has been affected by soil erosion.
He said the Ministry has intended to bring a tanker once a week for irrigation of the trees adding that a Ranger will also be deployed to oversee the protection of the area.
Mr. Maliehe thanked the UN family in Lesotho for their contribution in helping Lesotho to protect the environment through tree planting initiative.
He also said it is the intension of his ministry to establish orchards in the area so that the community can engage in income generating projects including production of dried fruits and juices from a variety of fruit trees.
Also speaking was the UN Resident Coordinator to Lesotho Mr. Salvator Niyonzima who said the UN agencies decided to mark the day on which the UN entered into force by planting trees because they found it fitting to join the local community and government towards making Lesotho green.
He expressed hope that by next year when the area is visited, it will be greener and lesser hander than it was today.
Mr. Niyonzima commended the employees of the UN for bringing the families particularly children to take part in the initiative saying children are the future leaders of the country who should be given the opportunity to participate in activities of this nature.
Moreover the Chief of Ha Mohlehli Chief Sekhobe Mohlehli promised that the area planted will be protected for its improvement.
He expressed concern over the poor road leading to Ha Mohlehli saying it needs to be upgraded for smooth movement of vehicles and people. He mentioned also that there is shortage of water in the village as well as electricity and requested the government to assist them for the improvement of the living conditions of the local communities.