Meynad Swai

The management of Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union (KNCU) has expressed apprehension over fast depletion of forest cover on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro and may resolve to set aside a day in every year for the Union members based at Hai, Siha, Moshi and Rombo districts to participate in afforestation activities.

KNCU Chairman, Mr Meynad Swai told the ‘Daily News’ here on Saturday , in an exclusive interview, that one of the major conditions for KNCU to be certified as FairTrade products producer was to make sure of one mainstream environmental issues, such as soil preservation, soil reclamation and afforestation to achieve sustainable good farming practices.

He said for the past three years, KNCU has employed an Environment Officer whose major responsibility was to make  sure there was soil fertility and preservation as well as to ensure that the environment was friendly to coffee farming. “Therefore, it is our policy to ensure that in all our four major coffee seedling nurseries, 25 per cent of all seedlings production is allocated to tree seedlings to provide shade to coffee farms of our members,” Mr Swai revealed.

The KNCU Chairman said so far 10,000 tree seedlings were raised by the Union (5,000 seedlings) and the remaining 5,000 seedlings were a donation from Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI), all of which were distributed, for free, to coffee farmers.
“KNCU will have a day specifically dedicated to massive tree planting activity every year as its contribution to environmental conservation which is crucial to sustainable coffee farming to achieve bumper coffee production,” he said.

He has made an impassioned plea to local government authorities to tirelessly educate their subjects on the need to conserve the environment for their survival and enforce to the letter all by-laws governing environmental conservation. “Climate change should not be construed as God’s wrath directed to human beings for whatever wrongdoing they may have committed, but rather the strange phenomenon was a result of heavy environmental degradation perpetrated by the same human beings. So we are our own worst enemies,” Mr Swai noted.

He said a coffee tree should be treated as a carbon credit approved tree if only the environment was improved and one will be entitled to get carbon credit funds which will be used to mitigate negative climatic conditions.

By Peter Temba, Tanzania Daily News

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