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  • 03 May 2018

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  • 04 May 2018

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As the custodian of greening function in South Africa Minister Zokwana officially launched Arbor Week in Matatiele Local Municipality at the Cedarville Town Hall. The launch was in partnership with the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR), Alfred Nzo District Municipality, Matatiele Local Municipality, and the corporate sponsor, Total South Africa.

Greening of our landscapes and the planting of trees for beautification, aesthetic value and nutrition is an important forestry service.

The Minister handed over 100  Peach trees Councillor Thabiso Mohoto from Ward 26  for  distribution  to 50 households.  Each household will receive two trees as part of DAFF’s contribution to food security.

As part of the implementation of the greening programme it is estimated that about 3000  trees  would  have  been  planted  by  the  end  of  the  campaign  throughout  the  area  of Matatiele Local Municipality.

The Minister commenced the launch with visits to projects in Cedarville. The Minister, MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane, ANDM Executive Mayor Cllr. Sixolile Mehlomakhulu and MLM Mayor Cllr. Momelezi Mbedla planted fruit trees in a family cooperative, Ingcambu Agricultural Development in Cedarville and donated vegetable seed packs. Most vegetables grown by the cooperative are destined for school feeding and nutritional programmes around the area.

This was followed by tree planting at the Maluti Multi-Disability School and GI Primary School in Cedarville. This is a new school that has requested wind breaks, 30 trees have been provided and the Minister and his guests planted 7 trees. The tree planting drive was concluded with planting of trees at the entrance of Matatiele town.

Welcoming more than 3000 attendees His Worship Cllr. Mbedla emphasized that Matatiele Local Municipality is one of the municipalities in the province with areas that are biophysically suitable for commercial forestry. In this land of ours, we boost with more than 500 community forestry plantations.

He pleaded with the Minister and MEC to work with the municipality to open an institution of higher learning focusing on agriculture. “We have identified agriculture and manufacturing as the most contributing sectors to the economy of our municipality. In line with this realisation, during our recent IDP outreach programmes, we received a proposal from the people of Matatiele to open a tertiary institution with a special focus on agriculture. I therefore submit leadership to you that we work together to realise this proposal,” he said.

Total South Africa has donated R2, 4 million for the Abor week greening campaign. The South African Post Office will supply trees in Gauteng to the value of R 50 000. SAPPI will also donate indigenous trees to be planted in and around Matatiele.

The theme for this year‘s campaign is “Forests and Water” with the aim of emphasising the planting of indigenous trees that conserve water. The Department promotes the trees of the year. For this year the Buffalo Thorn and Ebony Trees have been selected as trees of the year. The trees of the year are selected from the species that are becoming extinct from our indigenous heritage. One species is common and the other is rare in terms of occurrence.

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