ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia is preparing to plant 6.3 billion seedlings as the government plans to resume the green legacy initiative in the upcoming rainy season.
The four-year initiative aimed at curbing the effects of climate change and deforestation concluded last year with a positive note.
Authorities are now pushing to turn the annual tree planting campaign into a “green culture”.
“Seedling preparations are underway to enable the 6.5billion that we will plant collectively this year,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Tuesday.
A total of 25 billion tree seedlings were planted in the past four years through public mobilization, as per government’s data.
The average survival rate for seedlings planted – described ad mostly indigenous and high-value types such as bamboo – was also put at 84%.
‘Focus will be on planting fruits’
The Green Legacy initiative will make more fruit seedlings ready for the upcoming rainy season.
“The share of seedlings for fruit trees is also substantially higher this year,” the PM said.
According to the Ministry agriculture, fruits and other seedling related species make up 55% of the total seedlings currently being prepared at nurseries.
The move has been welcomed by the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA).
“It is a very good initiative as reafforestation has a multitude of benefits,” EHPEA’s Executive Director Tewodros Zewdie said.
According to him, the aggregate level could also an impact in boosting the volume of export in the long run although commercial planting is the way “to meaningfully drive volumes and quality.”
Overall, the executive director said, he was encouraged by “positive developments” not only in planting fruit seedlings, but also the expanding number of nurseries.
The Green Legacy initiative was launched in June 2019 with around 40,000 nurseries supplying the seedlings.
Their number rose last year to 121,000, with a cumulative capacity of producing 7.6 billion seedlings of various species.
The Initiative also mobilized 25 million Ethiopians to plant 25 billion seedlings within four years, creating more than 750,000 jobs mostly for women and youth.
Apart from helping to reduce the rate of deforestation, the impact the GLI has “could be equated to removing 64 million gasoline-powered cars from the roads for a whole year,” Abiy told the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) in January.
The East African nation plans to restore at least 22 million hectares of its degraded land by 2030.
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