The national 4-billion tree planting project officially launched by
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on May 26, 2019 is set to mobilize national
reforestation programme of planting 40 tree seedlings per head.
According to the source from the Forest Monitor and EcoWatch, the central
Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has set a new world record after 1.5
million volunteers planted more than 66 million tree saplings in just
12 hours along the Narmada River on July 2, 2017.
Now Ethiopia is working on planting 200 million tree saplings in a
single day, surpassing the record set by India two years before.
Agro-forestry and Land Use Expert, at The Horn of Africa Regional
Environmental Centre and Network, Dr. Azene Bekele, said the planting
tree project initiated by Premier Abiy was a role model for others and
could mobilize the community for forestation, which has recently been
ignored by the government.
“The Prime Minister’s initiation on planting 200 million seedlings a
day and the four billion trees planting campaign in this summer
generally embarks on mobilization for forestation,” he said.
Only this year, the 4 billion tree planting project will cover the
country’s 2.3 percent area by forest, he indicated.
Azene stated that if Ethiopia continues to maintain the momentum of
the project, the country’s 23 percent land will be covered with trees, while
saving $390 million per annum, which the country spends
to import forest products.
“Ethiopia has tremendous potential for afforestation as plants grow
throughout the year. Hence, the country can save $390 million for
importing forest products and able to export and earn foreign currency
beyond fulfilling the domestic demand,” he added.
Beyond the economic importance, the project would help to mitigate the
impacts of climate change as Ethiopia is one the most vulnerable
countries, he stated.
After planting, however, he said there should be a follow-up care and
conservation by experts and other stakeholders to achieve the goal of
the national project.
Ethiopia ranks third in planting trees since 2006 of the Billion Tree
Campaign, which was launched by the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) in response to the challenges of global warming,
as well as to a wider array of sustainability challenges from water supply
to biodiversity loss.
Ethiopia’s 200 million trees planting on Monday will be conducted
throughout the nine regional states and the two city administrations
of the country.
The 4 billion trees planting project was launched amid the Ethiopian
government's call to promote reforestation efforts, and eventually
bring an end to the rising deforestation, which the Ethiopian
government frequently labeled as "a daunting challenge" to the
country's green economy strategy.
"Nationwide monitoring of planted seedlings will be conducted to
ensure that the planted trees would be grown," Ethiopian Minister of
Agriculture, Umar Hussen, said on Thursday.
"This will continue even in the future to identify the success rate of
the planted seedlings in a bid to promote those who nurtured the
planted seedlings as articulated through the national initiative," the
agriculture minister added.
Noting the government-led reforestation initiative as a "critical
imputes" for Ethiopia's aspiration towards green economy, Hussen also
said that the country "had lost billions of trees and forest resources
over the past decades".