'Trees improve lifestyles'
Mpumalanga MEC for agriculture and land affairs Dinah Pule planted a number of trees in the Bushbuckridge area on Tuesday in a bid to promote the greening of the province.
The initiative is also aimed at helping to strengthen food security and in turn alleviate poverty.
Pule first planted trees in the offices of the Bushbuckridge municipality before planting more at the Shatale low-cost houses and then at a local church.
Addressing members of the community in a tent that was erected in one of Shatale's sports grounds, Pule urged people to plant trees to improve their lifestyles.
"When I look at the low-cost houses here I realise there are no trees that may produce fruits, shade and beauty.
"The time has come for families to realise the importance of trees in their yards because some of them produce food," said Pule.
She said instead of doing nothing and feeling sorry for themselves, poor families should plant trees as they could get something worthwhile from them.
Pule said communities should understand that if they resorted to cutting trees in the bush for fire wood, there would be nobody to replace the trees.
She said this meant that nature would have been destroyed.
She said rural areas such as Bushbuckridge would greatly benefit from trees of different species.
Pule said the greening of the province was done in conjunction with among others Sappi, Trees for Africa, several banks and the local youths.
Bushbuckridge Municipality spokesman Zondi Mkhabela thanked the provincial department of agriculture and land affairs for its contribution.
"Educating our people about the importance of the environment is long overdue.
"This is why we appreciate the department's efforts in doing so because we shall benefit a lot from them," he said.