Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed #GreenLegacy in Wolayta Soddo Photo: Abiy Ahmed Twitter Official
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Ethiopia ‘breaks’ tree-planting world record

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Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology claims that the country has broken the current one-day tree-planting record where over 50 million saplings were planted in India three years ago. The National Steering Committee confirmed that Ethiopia planted 353 million, 633 thousand, 660 trees in a space of 12-hours.

Ethiopia has suffered from the negative impact of climate change by enduring major drought in parts of the country over the past five years. According to Farm Africa, an organization working on reforestation efforts in East Africa, less than 4% of Ethiopia’s land is forested, compared to around 30% at the end of the 19th century.

Reports indicate that in 2017, over 2 million animals died when the country experienced its second severe drought in less than two years. Insufficient rainfall during that year’s rainy season led to severe water shortages, catastrophic livestock losses, and failed crops throughout the country. Prior to that, a severe drought in 2016 triggered by multiple consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall and the effects of the 2015/2016 El Niño climatic event created a complex emergency.

To proactively combat the effects of climate change, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed kicked off a mission to plant four billion trees across the country. The reforestation campaign named “Green Legacy,” is under the banner of the National Green Development program and started during the country’s rainy season i.e. between May and October .

“Over the past years Ethiopia’s forest coverage has decreased (in recent years) and the initiative is set mobilize national reforestation at 40 trees per head,” the PM’s office said in a social media post at the time.

Abiy Ahmed. Millions of Ethiopians across the country were invited to take part in the challenge and within the first six hours, Ahmed tweeted that around 150 million trees had been planted.

“We’re halfway to our goal,” he said and encouraged Ethiopians to “build on the momentum in the remaining hours.” After the 12-hour period ended, the Prime Minister took to Twitter again to announce that Ethiopia not only met its “collective #GreenLegacy goal,” but exceeded it.

Read: Baobab trees have more than 300 uses but they’re dying in Africa

A total of 353,633,660 tree seedlings had been planted, the country’s Minister for Innovation and Technology, Getahun Mekuria, Tweeted.

Currently as it stands Ethiopia claims to have broken India’s 66 million trees planting record set in 2017. It is not yet clear if the Guinness World Records is monitoring Ethiopia’s the mass planting scheme but the Prime Minister’s office said specially developed software is helping with the count.

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