VIOLET MENGO, Choma
AS A way of taking meaningful action against the climate crisis, Zambia in 2018 launched the Plant A Million (PAM) trees initiative.
The ambitious initiative was aimed at planting two billion trees by 2021 and the plan was in line with the country’s Seventh National Development Plan (2017-2021) which sought to diversify the economy from copper dependency. The initiative targeted young people through schools, colleges and universities and was to be used as a vehicle for mindset change among Zambians so that they could begin to value the importance of planting trees for commercial purposes. While the initiative seems not to have achieved its intended goal, for the people of Choma district, the tree planting exercise has just started. However, the PAM campaign is being implemented differently. People here plant trees for business, much as they respond to the afforestation challenge. Men, women and the youths alike have come together under the auspices of the Choma District Tree Nursery Association (CDTNA) to stop the climate crisis through tree planting. The association members all have one common characteristic- the love for plants and have come together to grow trees for a living. This is working out well for them. Pythias Mupatayi has 3,000 tree plants that he is growing at the Forestry Department in Choma district. He grows oranges, lemons and grafted avocados. Mr Mupatayi sells his tree plants between K50 and K300 each.
He is a member of CDTNA and has been working closely with other members of the association to sell their plants to the public. From the trees he has planted, Mupatayi expects to earn K50,000 this year alone. The money will help him to meet his daily home needs and also school requirements for his children. Maureen Sibaalwa, 48, is another member of the association who grows oranges, moringa and guava trees among others. Ms Sibaalwa is a mother of two boys and three girls and through the tree planting business, she is able to CLICK TO READ MORE