NEWS

ZIMBABWE NATIONAL TREE PLANTING DAY2011-11-23

As part of Zimbabwe's National Tree Planting Day, SEED enabled 259 trees to be planted in four rural communities to the east of Harare.

SEED workers Robert and Nyasha teamed up with local farmer and tree specialist Mr Sithole to educate the communities of Dudzu, Murehwa, Rusike and Mwanza on the importance of trees and together to plant a variety of tree seedlings.

Chief addresses community re importance of trees
The trees planted will help soil quality, improve the environment, create shade, and provide fruit, firewood and/or building materials.

The tree-planting events were attended by about 320 people, and received full backing from local chiefs and village elders. The tree seedlings were grown to about 30cm in height by Mr Sithole, and then purchased by SEED to be donated to members of the community, including Chiefs, headmen and parents of children attending the two Goromonzi pre-schools that SEED helped to set up.

Robert comments, "It was a well attended occasion and made great impact as we addressed the community elders. We received overwhelming support for our ecological programme...The Chief ordered his head men to encourage everyone to plant trees. After this occasion I was invited for tea with the Chief to discuss environmental and other challenges affecting His area...I look forward to this."

Farmers had started to over harvest the local trees for firewood and building. Tobacco, which has become a popular cash crop for small farmers, requires a lot of firewood for curing. As do cooking and keeping warm in winter. The communities now understand the importance of replenishing trees that have been cut down, and of keeping seed or making grafts.

Tree planting demonstration
Varieties planted included gum and the indigenous Munyii tree, Zimbabwe's tree of the year, which has drought resistant, fruit-bearing and medicinal properties. A gum tree can be harvested without damaging the 'mother' root, which will sprout a new shoot and continue to grow truly sustainable! Within 1-3 years most of the trees will reach maturity, meaning they can be used for fruit, firewood and seed for planting more trees.

This exciting initiative was all made possible by the congregation of St Paul's Church, Cambridge. Members enthusiastically sponsored individual trees, priced between £2 (gum trees) and £5 (fruit and indigenous Munyii trees) and together raised around £700. Thank you St Paul's!

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