RTMU upholds its commitment to restoring its concession – Capital Radio Malawi
21 July, 2024

RTMU upholds its commitment to restoring its concession

The Reformed Timber Millers Union (RTMU) is reaffirming its dedication to restoring its concession area through an ambitious tree-planting initiative.

Since the Government allocated 4000 hectares to RTMU inside Viphya Plantations in 2020, the union has been actively engaged in the restoration process, with significant progress achieved.

The union has made significant strides in its restoration efforts, successfully rehabilitating approximately 227 hectares of its allocated concession.

Providing a historical perspective, RTMU President, Alfred Adam said, “RTMU is very, very committed. Since we were given this concession in 2020, the very same year, though we were given it late in the planting season, we tried by planting about 11 hectares.”

Alfred Adam RTMU President

He added, “In the 2021 to 2022 season, we planted 100 hectares. In the 2022 to 2023 season, we planted 115 hectares, and now we are preparing our land to plant about 150 hectares, so you can see how committed we are.”

RTMU is not confining its afforestation efforts to the original concession. The union plans to also, plant trees on an area given to the union as compensation for relinquishing part of its land, which was the subject of historical disputes between RTMU and Raiply Malawi.

Adam outlined their expansion plans, stating, “We will plant here, and we will also plant at an area at Lusangazi where people are harvesting. There are about 65 hectares. We are making sure that our commitment extends beyond the allocated area.”

Despite the progress, Adam acknowledged the challenge of resource constraints, expressing the union’s need for support from the Government.

“Challenges are always there because, as you know, we are planting trees but do not have enough resources,” Adam said. “Resources, in terms of trees from which we can harvest and generate income, are lacking. That is why you see us always appealing to the Government to provide resources to help us keep planting and expand our efforts.”

RTMU has been facing criticism for alleged neglect of their concession area, but Adam refutes these claims, inviting scrutiny of their ongoing efforts.

Nursery of trees to be planted this coming season.

He emphasized, “We are not just harvesting, as people are saying. That is why we have called you to come here to see what we are doing. You will be able to show those who claim that we are solely focused on harvesting the evidence of our commitment to restoration.”

Addressing historical disputes, Adam explained, “Yes, there were squabbles, especially between us and Raiply Malawi, but those issues have been rectified. The Government demarcated concession areas to end disputes. In the portions that entered inside Raiply, the Government resolved that we should vacate, and compensated us by giving us a portion at Lusangazi where we are harvesting.”

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