Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
ENVIRONMENT patron First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has said life without plants is unimaginable.
The First Lady said this yesterday, in a speech read on her behalf by Bulawayo Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution Judith Ncube after the Enhanced Tree Planting Programme at Kwezi Park in Pelandaba suburb.
A total of 100 trees were planted at the park next to White City Stadium and Minister Ncube planted two trees on behalf of the First Lady.
The theme of the tree planting programme that was launched by President Mnangagwa in Mberengwa district on 4 December last year is “Trees and Forests for Ecosystem Restoration and improved livelihoods.”
The First Lady urged Zimbabweans to plant and take care of trees as they are a source of livelihood.
She said in her capacity as the patron for the Environment it was her duty to remind Zimbabweans on the importance of tree planting and to exhort the nation to continue to care and manage the trees already planted.
Amai Mnangagwa said life without any plant form was unimaginable, showing the importance of trees.
“My beloved citizens, we are all in agreement that trees and forests are important through products and services that we get for our livelihoods.
Allow me to remind you a little bit of the importance of trees on this day.
Let’s just pause for a few seconds and imagine what life would be like in a country without any plant.
What immediately comes to mind is that there would be no fruits, no oxygen, no timber, no tourism, no agriculture and in essence no human life,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
She applauded the Forestry Commission and the City of Bulawayo for choosing Kwezi Park in Pelandaba for the tree planting programme.
“During the drought periods induced by climate change, people in different parts of the country turn to natural resources for livelihoods.
The forests are full of resources like indigenous fruits including umviyo, uxakuxaku, umnyii, umtshwankela and various other fruits,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
She said it was encouraging that residents of Bulawayo had come together to resuscitate Kwezi Park.
“That is what is called development through home-grown solutions.
It should be everyone’s responsibility to take care of the trees that we are planting today so we should not leave it to Bulawayo City Council alone,” said the First Lady.
Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni thanked the First Lady for the initiative which he said enhances the city’s beauty and promotes tree planting.
“Participation in events like these is a reflection of how much we value the environment as the people of Bulawayo.
It shows that we acknowledge that our daily lives depend on the environment.
The environment plays a crucial role in the healthy living of human beings,” said Clr Mguni in a speech read on his behalf by Ward 17 Councillor Sikhululekile Moyo.
Ms Nonsikelelo Moyo thanked the First Lady for the programme.
“It is important to plant trees to show that our country has beautiful vegetation like trees.
They should be in abundance around the country and we should plant as many trees.
We thank the First Lady for this programme,” she said.
Ms Selina Zhou from Njube said: “The First Lady’s programme encourages people to protect the environment.
Speaking after the planting of the trees yesterday, Forestry Commission Director General Mr Abednigo Marufu said the programme is meant to replace trees that are being cut everyday.
“We are encouraging everyone in the country to plant as many trees as possible, be it fruit trees or gum trees.
We encourage tobacco farmers to plant trees for curing their tobacco.
The people from Matabeleland region, especially the northern parts, have beautiful indigenous forests which protect them from the Kalahari sands so they should preserve the trees,” said Mr Marufu.
He said it was unfortunate that some individuals were cutting tree to sell as firewood.
“We are seeing stacks of firewood along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway. We are saying no to that and Amai has been shouting the loudest that it is destroying our country.
This tree planting programme is meant to replace these trees that are being cut,” said Mr Marufu.
Through the programme, the First Lady has been to Mashonaland Central, Masvingo and Mashonaland West where she together with villagers planted hundreds of trees as she promotes afforestation to mitigate the effects of climate change.
She is taking the tree planting programme to all the country’s 10 provinces.
The country is grappling with the challenges of deforestation as many people are cutting down trees but are not replacing them.
Article Source: The Chronicle