High school given boost with tree-growing project

Rukweza high school has received a shot in the arm from Nyaradzo Group in the form of a $42,000 tree seedling nursery project that will transform the school into an income-generating centre.

Nyardzo Group CEO Philip Mataranyika (in black suit) reunited with his classmates of 1985 at Rukweza high school.
Nyardzo Group CEO Philip Mataranyika (in black suit) reunited with his classmates of 1985 at Rukweza high school.

The project is one of many development schemes funded by the group under their Friends of the Environment initiative, which started four years ago.

The FOTE trust aims to re-forest Zimbabwe by complementing the work of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate and the Forestry Commission.

The trust has a target of planting 500 million trees by 2026, so FOTE has set up 14 tree seedling nurseries at schools in various provinces around the country. Rukweza is the first to see results from the scheme, which also benefits the surrounding community and the wider environment.

The commercial nursery project, launched last Friday, has already produced more than 64,000 saplings, and has sold 40,000 gum trees to Mashonaland Tobacco Company for $5,000. The profit will help pay for school development projects and refurbishment.

Speaking at the official opening of the project, school head Langton Nyakuenda said the nursery would transform their educational institution into a self-reliant and financial viable entity.

Nyakuenda said both the school and its community would benefit from the promising initiative of Nyaradzo, which had also drilled a borehole at the school.

“The borehole helped the school in alleviating perennial water problems. We used to pay as much as $400 for water bills but ever since Nyaradzo funded the work, our water bills have dropped to as little as $30 a month,” he said.

The school has employed four local people to work in the nursery and is expecting to take on more.

“No further fees increments will be effected, since the school now has a viable source of income,” said the head. “Plans are even underway to look at the possibility of lowering fees.”

The project was also welcomed by Chief Makoni, who attended the opening, and by Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate permanent secretary, Prince Mupazviriho, who was the guest speaker.

Nyaradzo Group chief executive officer Philip Mataranyika said: “The decision to sponsor the establishment of a tree seedling nursery at Rukweza

High School was an easy one as we felt it important to give back to the community, while following our re-greening agenda. It was also an obvious choice since I did part of my secondary school studies here.”

Mataranyika said that through FOTE’s initiative of rolling out tree seedling nurseries countrywide, their goal to plant 500 million trees by 2026 seemed achievable.

Nyaradzo also took the same opportunity to donate 20 motorcycles to Agritex officers to be used for their day-to-day activities throughout the Makoni district.

The motorcycles will complement the Makoni District Household Tree Planting Project at Chigudu Primary School in Chendambuya.The project seeks to address the rate of deforestation in the district.

It’s anticipated that all 65,000 households in Makoni will plant 100 trees each, resulting in 6.5m trees being planted this rainy season.

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