SLB, Ministry of Forestry roll out tree planting




THABA-BOSIU – Standard Lesotho Bank and the Ministry of Forestry commemorated the International Day of Forests with a tree planting event at Ha Ntsane, Thaba-Bosiu, on Monday this week. This is part of the bank’s continued support for the country’s reforestation programme. The launch also marking the national tree planting day also coincided with the global celebration of the International Day of Forests, which was declared by a resolution of the United Nations in 2012.

With the support of the bank and other corporate sponsors that include Vodacom Lesotho, Metropolitan Lesotho, through Limomonane Foundation, the target is to plant 100 000 trees on this day, where at least 10 000 trees will be planted in every district.

“This initiative of tree planting is meant to improve and protect the environment. We still have a long way to go as a country. As government we need to implement reforestation and afforestation,” said Principal Secretary in the forestry ministry Kamoho Matlama.

“Lesotho is a bit behind in terms of tree planting; we need a national tree planting day as a country and we also need to tighten up our screws in laws that govern the protection and conservation of trees” said the Principal Chief of Thaba-Bosiu, Chief Khoabane Theko.

Speaking at the event on behalf of the bank, the Acting Head of Marketing, Manyathela Kheleli, said tree planting forms part of the bank’s Social, Economic and Environmental strategic imperative, where the bank promotes initiatives geared towards the management and control of greenhouse gases and the sustainability of the green environment.

As a responsible corporate citizen, SLB is equally concerned with massive deforestation and the impact that this has on the environment. These efforts help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and a transition towards low-carbon and green economies, Kheleli said.

“Even in our lending to entities that can harm the environment such as mines, part of our process to approve such loans is to check that environmental impact assessments are done to ensure that the money that we lend will not harm the environment,” he added.

The involvement of the SLB in this initiative is part of the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the bank and the ministry last year, where the bank has committed to supporting initiatives to participate in the reforestation of Lesotho and to promote food security through the planting of forests as well as fruit trees.

The bank has committed an annual budget of M200 000 towards this initiative for a period of three years. About 43 villages have been identified for the planting of trees this year in all the districts of the country, where the bank staff, together with government officials and the public will participate.

The global theme for this year’s commemoration is: “Forests and sustainable production and consumption”, which advocates for global citizens to manage forests in a sustainable manner. The launch of the tree planting was attended by senior government officials, Principal Chief Theko and the military, led by Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela, school children and members of the community.

The next phase of the MoU will be planting of fruit trees later in the year. With this initiative, the bank is also advocating for the government to reconsider the reinstatement of the National Tree Planting Day, which was previously declared a national holiday to encourage communities to dedicate one day to plant trees.

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