GREEN LEGACY: Ethiopia Readies 3.2bln Trees Seedlings

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has so far readied 3.2 billion tree seedlings to be planted in the upcoming ‘Kiremt’ rainy season as part of its ambitious plan to plant 20 billion seedlings within a four-year period.

The 3.2bln seedlings will constitute the total of 7bln trees to be planted in the 2021 rainy season which starts in June as the country continues its push to build a green economy.

The initiative, started by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in 2019, follows the Green Legacy Challenge project that envisions to plant 20 billion trees in four years.

Agriculture minister Oumer Hussein said, apart from the 3.2 billion seedlings, more 344, 000 hectares of land has also been prepared for planting.

The tree-planting campaign will be held in a year the country is holding national elections amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Although the level of preparation varies, all regions are preparing to take part in the campaign placing a proper attention to public health experts’ advice about the pandemic, said Oumer while speaking in a meeting that reviewed this year’s preparation with regional agricultural bureaus.

“Though we are under a lot of stress emanating from various challenges, everyone should carry out its own part in this campaign which transcends time,” the minister said.

At least 7 billion seedlings would be planted this rainy season as the performances during the past two years showed the feasibility of the plan, officials said.

The campaign to plant more trees is part of Ethiopia’s national “Green Legacy” initiative, which according to the prime minister’s office, aims to tackle deforestation and the effects of climate change by educating Ethiopians on the environment, and planting different “eco-friendly seedlings”.

Over 90% of the country’s estimated 110 million population obtain energy from biomass, but unsustainable harvest from natural forests resulted in the widening of the gap between supply and demand of forest.

Between 2007 and 2015, the nation reportedly imported 3.06 million meter cube of various industrial wood products, approximately worth $182.5 million.