As a way of promoting the culture of growing trees while assisting communities to earn a living, Masvingo Forestry Commission said they are targeting to distribute 500 000 fruit trees this coming rainy season.
Speaking in an interview last week on the sidelines of a tour by Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri, at the Forestry Commission head office in Masvingo, Masvingo Forestry Commission provincial manager, Mwaamba Mapanda, said they are in the process of registering farmers that will participate in this programme.
“We are in the process of registering farmers who are interested in planting these trees. So far 30 farmers have confirmed and we have distributed forms through Agritex.
“We are going to give them these trees on a contract basis then they will plant in their areas. Since it is a contract basis the farmers will pay something that we are still working on said Mapanda.
Mapanda added that so far they have 25 000 mangoes, 10 000 guava, 15 000 lemon and 1 500 grape fruit seedlings which are ready for distribution.
“To get these mango seeds we worked with women’s groups in the communities who supplied a bucket of seedlings for $2,” said Mapanda.
Mapanda highlighted that access to water remains a problem for many in the communities and that access to borehole water would lessen the burden of searching for water.
Muchinguri-Kashiri commended the effort by the Forestry Commission and urged them to decentralise the project.
“We acknowledge your effort, I can see that you are using a small space but you are making an effort to develop in this project, you have the vision but the difficult environment is limiting you,” she said.
She also urged them to create a conducive environment for other stakeholders and partners to participate.
“You can talk to the Head of Education in this Province so that you can partner with different schools in the district so that fruit trees may also be grown at schools,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.
The target for Masvingo is three million trees to be planted this rainy season.