ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
Ethiopia will plant 6 billion tree seedlings during the coming rainy season, the prime minister’s office announced on Tuesday.
The Horn of Africa nation of more than 110 million people launched the third round of its Green Legacy campaign with a ceremony that was attended by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and senior government officials.
“This year’s planting takes place under the theme ‘Let's Adorn Ethiopia.’ Following the planting of 5 billion seedlings last year, Ethiopia will plant 6 billion seedlings in this round,” read a statement by the premier’s office.
“An additional 1 billion seedlings will be sent to neighboring countries to start a regional effort towards a green Africa.”
Planting of trees began in rainfed areas on Tuesday, while areas that do not get rain regularly will start taking preparatory measures, the statement said.
Discussions held during the launch ceremony focused on restoring the country’s green cover, eliminating erosion and pollution, reducing conflicts arising due to environmental degradation and reduction of natural resources, and measures to support Ethiopia’s agricultural sector and economy, it added.
“Prime Minister Abiy called on all Ethiopians to come in unison in covering the nation green, seeing each other beyond lines of division,” the statement added.
Ethnic divisions in Ethiopia have caused the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians and the destruction of sizable public infrastructure facilities, as well as private property.
Many Ethiopians believe bringing the country together remains one of the biggest challenges faced by the government.
In the country's northernmost region of Tigray, the Tigray People's Liberation Front rebels continue to launch sporadic attacks.
Military confrontations in Tigray have displaced hundreds of thousands of people, with more than 60,000 people have fled to neighboring Sudan.