A ZIMBABWEAN company, Treeco has launched its new campaign to plant one million trees in Zimbabwe and monitor and study their progress and impact through its newly developed mobile application.
The first 1000 fruit and indigenous trees, sponsored by Bushtracks Africa in the frame of their Bushtracks Footprint Programme, and provided by Treeco and Forestry Commission, were distributed to members of the community near Victoria Falls after a motivational training demonstration at the Masuwe Primary school.
The initiative is aimed at curbing deforestation and habitat loss and its associated impacts. This will be done through tree planting, integrating locally proven methods with the latest technology, to deliver the best results. The project brings together established players in the conservation and tourism sector including Forestry Commission, Wild is Life and Bushtracks Africa.The trees were grown at the nearby Fuller Forest Nursery by Forestry Commission and Treeco. The nursery was established to be a leading producer of high quality seedings for reforestation and social forestry in the region, and is starting to yield positive results.The event was hosted by Masuwe Primary School. An orchard is being established as well as a variety of other new projects. The school is adjacent to the Panda Masuie Forest Reserve, within a network of prime wilderness areas, making it of strategic relevance and the perfect starting point for such an ambitious and innovative campaign.
Both children and their parents participated in the event, much to everyone’s delight. Each family received trees for their household. The trees were carefully selected based on heir usefulness, and ability to survive in this particular area and included Baobab, Kigelia, Mnii, Pawpaw (papaya) and Guava.
The trees were funded by Bushtracks Africa, the anchor partner and one of the leading tour operators in Victoria Falls and the proud owner of the prestigious and iconic Victoria Falls Steam Train. Since June, Bushtracks took the initiative to plant, at its own expense, one tree for every passenger that boards its train to view the mighty wonder of the world. The trees were planted to coincide with the onset of the late rains.
Bushtracks General Manager Simon Teede said: “Bushtracks is proud to be playing a leading role in protecting the environment where we operate and giving back to the communities whom we work with. We stand strong in the battle against climate change and deforestation and as a responsible and committed player in the region aim to play a positive role”.
Treeco Founder Jos Danckwerts conducted a demonstration of the best practices on planting trees and gave an inspirational discussion of the myriad of ways trees can impact peoples lives. He said: “Trees are life, they give us everything; our air, our food, and our water. We are in a second year of drought and it is more vital than ever that we unite at grassroots level to plant trees and protect forests, given that trees are directly linked to rain, which we all rely on for everything”.
The event marked the launch of the Treeco App. This innovative technology platform is the first of its kind in the world, and was developed in Africa between Treeco and Green Fingers Mobile, a technology company based in Cape Town.
The application gathers and manages data from reforestation activities including voluntary data from farmers whom participate and own the trees, with the aim of understanding the impact of the trees. This also builds much needed monitoring and accountability in the reforestation sector, a rapidly developing and relatively unknown field. This app aims to ultimately start a revolution whereby people are empowered, no matter how big or small, to make a tangible difference that benefits both the planet and people.
This was the first event under the new campaign and a major success. Further events will be taking place in other places in the region during the rainy season. The focus will be on communities living adjacent to wilderness and forest areas. With teamwork, innovation and commitment a group of organisations in Zimbabwe is taking courageous action to address some of the most pressing issues of our time.
– Olia Danckwerts works for Treeco Zimbabwe in Victoria Falls