Nyaradzo Funeral Assurance Company has embarked on an ambitious 500 million tree planting exercise countrywide to help curb deforestation in Zimbabwe.
Group Chief executive officer Philip Mataranyika says the programme will first target schools and then households as it seeks to help save the country’s forests.
Mataranyika says the firm is donating seedlings to schools and homesteads so they can play their part in this ambitious scheme. They would be allowed to sell the seedlings to generate income and ensure the project spreads to other areas.
Nyaradzo recently unveiled a tree seedling nursery at Rukweza High School in Makoni district. About 65,000 households in the district will take part and plant 100 trees each, meaning 6,5 million trees would have been planted before year-end in the area.
Mataranyike says the program will go a long way in making sure his firm’s goal of planting 500 million trees by 2026 through Friends of the Environment, is achieved if fully adopted countrywide.
Nyaradzo has also donated 20 motorcycles to be used by Agritex extension workers in monitoring the smooth execution of the programme.
Mataranyika says the establishment of the seedling nursery at Rukweza High School was an initiative meant to give back to the community while also following the firm’s re-greening Zimbabwe agenda.
The company earlier this year launched a similar project in Zimunya, Mutare South, and another at Chendambuya, started in July 2012 where a tree nursery was unveiled by the company as it aims to meet its target of 500 million trees in the next 13 years.
Guest of honour and Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa paid tribute to the company as it tries to address problems created mainly by tobacco farmers, who use firewood to cure their crop.
Mutasa says those farmers should establish woodlots in addition to using coal in curing tobacco as a way of preserving trees.