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President Dr Lazarus Chakwera has today launched the 2023-2024 Annual Forestry Season at Mpasa Hill in Phalombe district under the theme: Forest Innovation in Action: Reforestation for a Sustainable Tomorrow. 

Speaking during the launch ceremony, Chakwera encouraged communities to work together with government in restoring the environment in order to combat climate change and curb its impact. 

Chakwera also commended traditional leaders in the country by embracing the tree planting exercise describing them as paramount to the success of the exercise as they are custodians of the communities which are usually affected by climate related disasters. 

He also encouraged communities to be vigilant and health advisories to avoid the spread of diseases such as cholera. 

Speaking on food security, Chakwera disclosed that he has ordered the Ministry of Agriculture to send maize to all Admarc depots and be sold at an affordable price to all Malawians. 

Chakwera also cautioned people in authority against misappropriating maize and other resources meant for vulnerable people. 

He disclosed that the economic recovery is on the right track with the resumption of financial support from development partners, indicating restoration of trust between Malawi and its development partners. 

Minister of Natural Resources and Climate Change, Michael Usi revealed that government is working together with different stakeholders during the exercise. 

Usi encouraged Malawians to take part in such initiatives in order to develop the country. 

He said that Malawi is on the right track to recovery after being hit by different disturbances including cyclones and disease outbreaks. 

Member of Parliament for the area, Mary Mpanga urged government to prioritise Phalombe in climate change related programmes as the district is one of the most disaster prone places in the country. 

She disclosed that the recent cyclones Ana, Gombe and Freddy have destroyed infrastructure and crops which resulting in so many challenges in the district including hunger. 

She said that some of the causes of the setbacks in restoration of the environment in the district include the rampant cutting down of trees for charcoal production, she thus asked government to create more access to the National Economic Empowerment Fund (NEEF) for young people to redirect them from charcoal to climate-smart entrepreneurship. 

During the launch of the Forestry Season, Chakwera planted a tree and participated in the construction of an eyebrow basin. He also presented fruit tree seedlings to school children and oversaw their planting.

Earlier, Chakwera toured Reverend John Chilembwe Hospital where he handed over different food items including fish and 400 bags of maize.