Through the Forestry Masterplan, government hopes to attract an investment of around R24.9 billion in the sector and create more than 100 000 jobs within the five-year implementation period.

“The Forestry Masterplan seeks among others to empower communities to be owners and managers of forestry resources in the rural areas of South Africa.

“Furthermore, it intends to assist to optimise timber production by ensuring that beneficiaries receive post-settlement support and, where feasible, they are linked to a strategic partner,” Deputy Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Makhotso Sotyu said on Thursday.

Addressing the launch of the National Arbor Month, Sotyu said to date about 6 000 jobs have been created and R11.5 billion has been invested mainly in down-stream processing industries.

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), through a directive from the President, is leading the rollout of the Ten Million Trees Programme.

The aim is to plant at least two million trees countrywide each year for five years through a coordinated effort by government, non-government organisations, community-based organisations, the corporate sector and the general public.

In the first year of implementation, the coordinated effort saw the planting of 850 000 trees. Of this total number about 198 000 trees were planted by the public.

As part of the launch activities, the Deputy Minister planted trees at the Shabalala Secondary School and in a few homes in Shabalala Trust Village, in Hazyview, Mpumalanga.

“To heighten the Presidential Ten Million Trees programme, at least 7 000 trees will be planted in the Ehlanzeni District by the end of the Arbor Month 2022. This includes 3 000 in Mbombela and 1 000 in each for the other four municipalities in the district,” Sotyu said.

Annually, the department in partnership with Total Energies South Africa celebrates National Arbor Month campaign from 1– 30 September.

The campaign is aimed at sensitising South Africans about the need to conserve, protect and plant trees for environmental and human related ideals.

National Arbor Month is being celebrated under the theme: “Forests and Sustainable Production and Consumption.”

Source: South Africa Government News Agency

News Reporter