Mthunzi Funeral Services, a subsidiary of Old Mutual Malawi has launched Mthunzi Tree Nursery as it is continuing with its operations in the country after being launched in December last year.
Speaking during the event, the Companyâ€™s Chief Operations Officer Khumbo Phiri said the ceremony was combined with the launch of 2021 Old Mutualâ€™s tree planting activity which is done annually, whom he said up to date, the company has planted over 50, 000 trees.
According to Phiri, statistics are showing that the country loses at least 32, 000 hectors of forest due to cutting down of trees for wood and charcoal â€śwhich leads to deforestation, soil erosion, floods even drought problems.â€ť
He further added that Malawiâ€™s off-reverse is likely to be exhausted by 2040 if the current rate of forest resource utilization continues, unless tree cover is maintained and restored â€śMalawi faces catastropheâ€ť
â€śAs a responsible business, committed to creating a positive and lasting contributions in both the communities we operate in and our environment. We annually take a positive step to add a few trees through this initiative. We do not take these alone as we believe that only through the collaboration and partnership with communities and experts. We will achieve preservation, sustainability and impact of this initiative,â€ť Phiri said.
Following the struggles faced in the past in maintaining the survival rate of trees planted, Mthunzi Funeral Services has partnered with Wildlife Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM), which according to Phiri has been an active and experienced partner in assisting with public awareness, participation and hands on support in the communities.
â€śWe have since achieved a higher percentage survival rate of our trees through this partnership,â€ť he said.
According to Phiri, the event demonstrate Mthunzi Funeral Servicesâ€™ commitment and responsibility considering that their business revolves around trees.
â€śTrees are one key raw material for coffins and caskets, one key product that we offer. It therefore remains our responsibility to make sure that trees are restored and preserved for the sustainability of our business and others in the same sector,â€ť he said.
He added; â€śWe commit to give a tree to each bereaved family for every funeral that we will conduct. That is, for every coffin that goes, a tree will be planted; for every life that is lost, a tree will be planted as a remembrance.â€ť
In her remarks, Dr. Tionge Gawa, National Chairperson for WESM said the event is important to them considering that one of their biggest activities is tree growing and partnering with a big organization which is resourceful is an achievement.
Dr. Gawa further said that with how trees are being harvested in the country they will never be enough, however, she was quick to compliment the move taken by Mthunzi Funeral Service to establish a nursery saying that it is a sign of responsibility and that it puts the welfare of Malawians at heart.
â€śOne of our biggest activities is tree growing and itâ€™s something everyone can do hence we encourage all our member, all our partners we work with to be able to plant a tree. So when one establishes a nursery then we know that there will be continued supply of those trees to be planted,â€ť she said.
When asked if the country is doing better in as far as the welfare of trees is concerned, Dr. Gawa said the country is doing well but the citizenry can do better while urging people to revisit trees they planted and see the progress.
Geoffrey Kanyerere, District Forestry Officer for Blantyre described the initiative by Mthunzi Funeral Service to plant trees as very beneficial as he aid it is involving each and every Malawian regardless of their status.
â€śWe know people will be coming here despite that they have lost their loved ones they will be given tree to plant as a way of remembering their departed loved ones,â€ť Said Kanyerere.
Mthunzi Funeral Services has said it is planning to plant at least 12, 000 trees and that it will distribute over 10, 000 seedlings to five selected communities within Blantyre.
The communities to benefit from the initiative include; Chibweya Village T/A Kunthembwe, Nthache and Chigaru village in T/A Chigaru, Mtiza Village in T/A Kuntaja and Singano Village in T/A Kapeni.
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