Malawi is being deforested very rapidly. Many rural communities are reliant on firewood to cook and to provide warmth and light. The problem is not going to go away any time soon. Initiated by Master Banda and Children in the Wilderness kids, an indigenous nursery was started at Chintheche to provide saplings to communities to begin reforesting their areas. In 2012 we formed a partnership with a Swedish Company, Southbound and its owner, Ralf Holmstrom and formed a tree planting company named Root to Fruit. The company is run on strictly commercial lines. Two plots of land have been purchased and 12 people are permanently employed.
To connect Root to Fruit with our eco-tourism operation, CAWS launched the ‘Tree with Every Trip’ initiative, through which guests travelling with the company can opt to add USD 2 to their trip, which will go towards planting a tree in Chintheche and offsetting atleast a small amount of the carbon emissions that their journey might generate.
The nursery at Chintheche Inn itself comprises both tree growing mini ‘farms” and demonstration plots to hand on the knowledge of successful tree planting to interested communities. Several different types of tree are planted- Indigenous trees to reclaim natural forests from traditional slash and burn agriculture plots, wide rooted indigenous trees to be planted on river courses and headwaters to bind soil together and lessen erosion and wash off, fast growing trees-both indigenous and exotic to be used for firewood, and fruit trees to sell commercially.
Since its inception Root to Fruit has planted over 100,000 trees-. Seedlings are nurtured to a certain height and then distributed and out planted to communities in the area. The crucial element of this project is that we have set ourselves a goal of a 70% survival rate and regularly visit the out planted areas to see if this is being achieved.