1 November 2017

Malawi: Rampant Deforestation Resurfaces in Mulanje Mountain

Phalombe — Rampant deforestation activities have resurfaced around Mulanje Mountain with people of Phalombe and Mulanje districts turning part of the Mountain into a market place supplying illegal charcoal producers and timber sawyers with food stuffs.

The development comes barely some months after government stopped deploying Malawi Defense Force soldiers to protect the Mountain from the wanton cutting down of trees.

According to Group Village Bwanaisa of Phalombe, a lot of charcoal production and timber sawing is taking place around a place called Mwana-Mulanje at Mulanje Mountain, to an extent that people conducting food stuff businesses have spotted a market there.

"People have started carrying their merchandise up the mountain to sell to those working there against Malawi laws and quicker than normal, the place is becoming a hot market for food items such as fish, vegetables, cooking oil, salt and many more," explained GVH Bwanaisa.

The traditional leader accused the District Forestry Department for not taking any action on the matter despite having received reports from concerned people on the same.

"We have been reporting the issue to the Forestry Office for a while but the only response we get is that the office would act on it but days continue to pass by," he said adding that due to the department's negligence, the wanton cutting down of trees has increased on Mulanje Mountain and Michesi Hills of late.

Commenting on the matter, Phalombe District Forestry Officer, Eric Mbingwani acknowledged having received reports about the malpractice at Mulanje Mountain, however, he said his department has not been able to visit the area due to lack of transportation.

Mbingwani said the only vehicle that the office relies on had broken down hence the inability for the office to conduct routine patrols in the district's hot spots to keep deforestation checked.

"We received reports that people have invaded the forest and are cutting down trees carelessly to burn charcoal and saw timber and this has remained a worrisome development to us; however, we have not been able to visit the scene and address the problem," Mbingwani confessed.

Phalombe District shares Mulanje Mountain with Mulanje District and since 2015 government through its environmental protection initiative deployed Malawi Defense Force Soldiers in the two districts to intensively guard against illegal harvesters on the Mountain.

Among other things, the MDF personnel managed to confiscate charcoal and timber among charcoal producers whilst sending strong messages to the communities in the two districts on the negative effects of deforestation.


Rural Women's Groups Back Proposed Abortion Law

The statistics are staggering. Over 141,000 women and girls induce abortions unsafely in Malawi with about half of them… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2017 Malawi News Agency. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.