Zimbabwe on Wednesday joined the world in the commemorating the International Day of Forests, set aside to raise awareness of the importance of forests, woodlands and trees while celebrating the ways in which they sustain and protect the communities.
Addressing people who attended the commemorations at the Forest Commission head office in Harare, Minister of Environment water and Climate, Oppah Muchinguri said Zimbabwe is working hard to meet Six Global Forest Goals.
“We are working hard to meet Six Global Forest Goals which include the commitment to; reverse the loss of forest cover through Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) which includes protection, restoration, afforestation and reforestation and increase efforts to prevent forest degradation and contribute to the global effort to address climate change; to enhance Forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits that includes improving the livelihoods of forest dependent people; and to increase significantly the area of protected forests and other sustainably managed forests.
She added that she launched the Agroforestry Program to promote planting fruit trees.
“My Ministry recently officially launched the Agroforestry Program and work on the ground has already started through this program, we are encouraging and promoting the extensive planting of fruit trees.
“This is an initiative close to my heart and my Ministry has been working through the Forestry Commission to make sure that it takes off and the program is coming on the backdrop of the reality that Zimbabwe continues to experience droughts caused by climatic change and variability which in turn impacts on food security and nutrition especially for the local communities.
“Our people especially in the rural communities suffer the brunt of these droughts as they lack alternative sources of food
“Zimbabwe used to boast of a robust horticulture industry, but this has since collapsed as most fruit orchards are non-functional with some of them having been converted to other forms of agriculture forcing the country to import fresh fruits and juices.
“Fruit canning factories have closed with the remaining few operating at below capacity due to lack of raw material. If fruits are grown they will provide supplementary food with the surplus being sold to provide household income that in turn can assist in the resuscitation of the fruit processing industry. Our thrust as a Ministry is to promote agroforestry which involves the incorporation of fruit trees into agricultural farming,” said Muchinguri