In recent years, Central African authorities have placed particular emphasis on the fight against climate change and deforestation, by encouraging tree planting. The country aims to plant thousands of hectares of trees this year alone.
National leaders including the head of state have embraced the activity with a view to attracting the country’s youth.
“We count on the youth, their participation in local development, in the activities of collective awareness for development,” said Aristide Briand Reboas, the country’s youth minister.
Others have taken up tree planting with commercial objectives. Alphonse Kossi is a general in the Central African Republic army. When not occupied with national security duties, Kossi is tending his trees from which he hopes to make money someday.
“We are aware that the tree protects nature, and that instead of planting useless trees, I chose to plant a tree that can one day provide me with money,” he told Africanews.
The government has initiated a forestry development fund whose objective is to create nurseries of several tree varieties. The seedlings are distributed free of charge to citizens.
Tree growers simply have to write to the forestry office expressing interest. There are currently 46 nurseries in the country.
Years of conflict and neglect have seen Central African Republic’s forests and wildlife exploited illegally and by poachers.
Now with a semblance of order returning to the country, authorities are keen on stopping further devastation.