HARARE – ZUVA Petroleum plans to plant a million trees by 2020 through a schools’ tree planting programme that was recently launched in Harare by Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Prisca Mupfumira.
Under the pilot phase of the programme, 10 high schools selected from throughout the country were presented with 200 fruit tree seedlings each at the launch of the tree planting programme held at Forestry Commission in Harare on Tuesday.
The benefitting schools include Marange High School, Lower Gwelo Mission, Nyatsime College, ZRP High School, Midlands Christian College, Watershed College, Roosevelt High School, Mother Touch High School, Dzivaresekwa 2 High School and Nyazura Adventist High School.
According to Zuva Petroleum chief executive officer Bethwell Gumbo, the programme is part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) package.
“As a company we care for our people, our communities and the environment. Our health and safety motto is ‘No accidents, no harm to the people and No damage to the environment.’
“That is why we have embarked on this journey today,” said Gumbo, adding that his company recently refurbished public ablution facilities in Southerton, Harare in keeping with its push for environmental sustainability.
The Zuva Petroleum chief executive officer added his company is determined to contribute to the reversal of deforestation which is taking place all over the country at an alarming rate.
“Between 1990 and 2000, Zimbabwe lost an average of over 300 thousand hectares of forest annually. This amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 1,41 percent. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest depletion increased to 1,64 percent per annum.
“In total, between 1990 and 2005, Zimbabwe lost 21,1 percent of its forest cover, or around 4, 7 million hectares. At this rate the UN estimated that in 20 years Zimbabwe can easily become a desert if no solution is provided,” he said.
The Zuva Petroleum School Tree Planting Programme has been described by minister Mupfumira as a timely intervention.
“Zuva Petroleum is planting its roots in this blessed land, and leaving behind something that will remain for the coming generations.
This initiative comes at a very opportune time where the country needs more than the involvement of corporate Zimbabwe in environmentally-friendly initiatives,” said Mupfumira.
She was particularly pleased by the fact that Zuva Petroleum Schools’ Tree Planting Programme will eventually become a competition.
“I am also happy to hear that this programme will eventually evolve into a schools competition because this is the guarantee that this programme is sustainable and will nurture good environmental stewardship in our young generation and benefit communities for years to come,” said the minister.