Redressing the natural environment with vegetation of different kinds has been a long term plan which the government of Eritrea continues to work hard so as to achieve the envisaged goal since some 20 years back. Different programs have been mapped out to achieve such a grand goal of restoring the physical environment to its natural state. Extensive efforts towards ensuring green environment have been mainly facilitated through students’ summer work program which includes terracing, planting seedlings during the rainy seasons and different tasks of soil and water conservation. The recent initiative and in which commendable result has been achieved is however, a green campaign program that has been effectively implemented as of 2006. Tremendous achievement in soil and water conservation as well as in planting and nurturing seedlings has been registered since the launching of the green campaign. The Ministry of Agriculture has been organizing annual assessment meetings in which representatives of Agriculture Ministry’s branch offices from six regions of the country, government officials, army commanders, representative of different institutions, exemplary individuals and invited guests take part.
The establishment of green clubs in different part of Eritrea has been among the major achievements that have continued to play significant role in the realization of the set out goal as of 2006. A number of institutions have been part of different green clubs. The most notable green clubs have, however, been those clubs that continued to be established in indifferent academic institutions throughout the country.
Ensuring the fertility of farm land and turning any piece of land that remains uncultivated into a green environment is the primary goal that has been envisaged to be achieved through active engagement and extensive efforts of different parties.
The good will to protect and enhance the natural environment is still in its place. But, there have been occurrences of cutting down of trees as bio fuels and for making different household items as well as for construction of houses particularly in the lowlands.
The cutting down of trees for different purposes have been assessed as a major set back in the annual meeting that was held on 15 May 2014 at Expo Hall in Asmara. In the meeting organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, representatives from different regions of Eritrea have presented work accomplishments and particularly in soil and water conservation as well as planting seedlings.
Based on the papers presented by representatives of the six regions of the country, participants of the assessment meeting expressed their concerns about cutting down of trees and majors to be taken to tackle such occurrences, establishment of enclosures, as well as to asses reforestations activities in terms of the number of seedlings that have grown.
As cutting down of trees as bio fuel has continued to be a major problem, efforts that have been exerted to prevent illegal cutting down of trees was among the issues discussed on may 15- National Greening Day.
Present in the occasion, Arefaine Berhie, Minster of Agriculture, highlighted efforts that have been exerted by the government of Eritrea to ensure alternative sources of energy such as supply of gas, and introduction of smokeless ovens. The Minister, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the number of green clubs so far established in different parts of the country.
In last years meeting it was planned for the establishment of green clubs in every academic institution through out the country. Such a plan has not yet been achieved as planned. Hence, Mr. Arefanie recommends that the academic year 2014-2015 to be a time for the establishment of new green clubs in different school through out the country.
Mr. Abrha Garza, Head of Reforestation and Wild life Conservation Authority, on his part said that extensive efforts have been exerted through active engagement of people and member of Eritrean Defense Forces to recover and restore the natural environment the easy it used to be.
He also emphasizes that such a goal could be fully achieved along side ensuring the supply of energy lest the efforts that have been exerted would be overshadowed by the cutting down of trees to be used as bio fuel.
While sharing his views about soil and water conservation activities, the Minister of Agriculture emphasized on the need to extend the number seedlings so as to speed up reforestation program particularly to nurture and plant seedling of indigenous trees. The Minister also indicated that there have been occurrences in which farmers conduct farming activities in areas that are habitat for wild animals and as a result of which started to engage in acts of illegal hunting. He finally pointed out that proper measures need to be taken to tackle any act of illegal cutting down of trees and illegal hunting of wild animals.
In the assessment meeting conducted in connection with National Greening Day, honorary guests planted seedlings in the Expo grounds and finally awards and certificate of merit was delivered to exemplary institutions and individuals for making due contribution in reforestation, soil and water conservation as well as in making smokeless ovens. The Southern region has become a winner at a national level for the achievement it registered in reforestation activities, protection of enclosures, and conservation of wild life among others and received an award from Mr. Afefaine Berhie, the Minister of Agriclture.