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REPUBLIC OF MALAWI

STATEMENT
BY
HIS EXCELLENCY PROF. ARTHUR PETER
MUTHARIKA
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
OF MALAWI
AT THE
INAUGURATION OF THE 2015/16 NATIONAL
FORESTRY SEASON
AT
MASASA PRIMARY SCHOOL, NTCHEU
MONDAY, 18TH JANUARY, 2016
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The Minister of Natural Resources, Energy


and Mining, Hon. Bright Msaka SC,
All Cabinet Ministers here present;
Members of Parliament, here present;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps, here
present;
The District Commissioner, Ntcheu;
Traditional Authority Masasa and other
traditional leaders present here;
Distinguished invited Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

I have come to be with you this morning to launch 2015/16


National Forestry Season. In so doing, I have come to lead
the Malawi Nation in tree planting and forest conservation.

This season will run for the next four months starting from
today. This is our national agenda, and let us all be part of
this agenda. Do what is good for your country. Whether you
are in opposition, the private sector, the civil society, media,
academia, religious organisation; and whether you are
another national living with us: we all suffer when this
country suffers. Our human fate is the same if we neglect
our environment. Bound to our common fate, let us come
together in this national cause.

I commend the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and


Mining on the successful staging of this very important
annual event. This years theme Arrest Deforestation
Plant Trees and Conserve Forests is timely. It comes as
we remember that last year this time, our dear brothers and
sisters were dying in the floods, and our crops were being

washed away because of extreme weather caused by


environmental degradation.

As we remember, that they perished because of the


problems we meet to fight today, may I ask you all, and
wherever you are, to stand and remember those lost in
the 2015 National Disaster in a minute of silence.
[Minute of Silence]
My dear Malawians, the departed will never return. But
those of us living can do more so that we or our
children may never suffer similar consequences of
climate change.
Natural resources are what support our existence on earth.
We cannot take our natural resources for granted. We
cannot take our existence for granted. For this reason, we
have no other choice but to conserve our natural resources.
Either we do that, or we perish from the face of this earth.
And let us face the fact. Our life is more enjoyable with
beautiful natural heritage around us. Now much of our
natural heritage is slowly disappearing every year.
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When most of us were young, we used to enjoy eating


Mateme, Masuku, Matowo and such indigenous fruits.
Where are those old good days? Some of our fruits are
known to provide essential immunities to our bodies. They
were our God-given medicine. Where are our indigenous
fruits? And some of the lost trees and fruits were unique to
Africa, and some unique to Malawi. Now they are gone!
In every village and every forest and corner of our land, our
rivers flowed in green valleys with cool water all the year
round. Where are our green rivers? Where are our green
hills and mountains?
Where is that beautiful land of which we patriotically sing in
our National Anthem?
Our own Malawi, this land so fair,
Fertile and brave and free.
With its lakes, refreshing mountain air?
Where is that beauty we sing of Hills and valleys, soil so
rich and rare, [ of] Wood and forest, plains so broad and
fair? Where is that country?

My

Dear

Malawians,

our

world

is

in

great

danger

everywhere, and our existence endangered more than ever.


We have all forgotten that God gave us our natural
resources to use them and look after them. But not to
destroy them, because destroying our nature is only an act
of self-destruction! Yet, everyone has gone on the rampage
of our self-destruction. And there are only few who care,
and listen to the sad cry of nature all around us.
The United Nations estimates that 36 million acres of
forests world-wide are cut down each year. In Malawi, it is
estimated that between 1 and 4 percent of forest cover is
lost

every

year

due

to

construction,

unsustainable

agriculture practices and charcoal production among other


actors.
The result of deforestation is increased water run-off, soil
erosion, change of weather patterns, loss of soil fertility and
subsequently

reduced

agricultural

productivity.

And

mankind is paying tragic consequences everywhere. The


great catastrophe of floods that nearly wiped Malawi from
the face of the earth last year is the tragedy of climate
change. That is the cost of destroying our environment.

The loss of life and property, the floods, droughts, erratic


rains, hunger, and the emergence of strange diseases, is all
the rebellion of nature against man. And we have all seen
how natural disaster can sabotage and frustrate our agrobased economy and cause the suffering of many souls. In
one way or another, these are tragic consequences of
deforestation and forest degradation.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is sad to note that
some people dont just care. There are some Malawians who
are unshamefully smuggling out, our precious wood such as
Mukula, Msanya and Nkalati. Report them and stop them
at once! Any crime against our environment is a crime
against you and me. My Government will not accept this
behavior. That is why my Government has been toughening
all laws that tackle and arrest eco-crimes. Any person
involved in smuggling round wood will face the law of the
land and there will be no mercy. Destroying environment is
trying to wipe us all out of existence.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we all have the duty
of protecting our environment to protect our existence. It is
our most sacred duty to conserve our land and forests to
preserve our own human life. Let us make it our sacred
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mission to plant trees, and replenish our forests so that our


days may be long in the land that the Lord our God has
given us. May the same God help us nurture the nature he
has given us!
With this humble dedication, I declare the 2015/16
National Forestry Season officially launched.
May God bless us all, God bless our country!
Thank you!