Chapter VIII
Agriculture
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Forestry - Arbour Day
Jul. 19, 1958
This is the third occasion on which We celebrate Arbour Day.  As We have stated on previous
occasions, the main objective of the development programme which We have adopted for the
welfare of Our people is to preserve and augment the wealth derived from our land, and,
agriculture being the basis of our economy, to increase the yield of Our soil through maximum
utilization.

The forest resources of Our Empire constitute one of the most important elements of the wealth of
Our land.  When Our forests are properly conserved, the protect the fertile soil of Ethiopia from
erosion; the render the landscape green and beautiful.  But when forests are neglected and
gradually destroyed, the wealth of Our land is progressively reduced and the country slowly
becomes bare and barren.

Wood-cutting is an important source of income for our rural population.  But the needlessness of
their tree-cutting and their thoughtless misuse of Our timber stands demonstrate clearly that they
do not understand the great and far-reaching importance of preserving Our forests.

The uses of trees are many an varied.  Groves of trees protect our fields and plantations form being
desiccated by the desert winds that blow from neighbouring regions.  During the summer months,
they provide moisture and shade.  If trees are not presently planted to replace those being cut
down from time to time, Our constant efforts to conserve and develop the wealth of Our country for
the welfare of present and future generations will be rendered ineffective and futile.  We are greatly
grieved to observe the many thousands of gashas of rich forest land being destroyed every year by
reckless timber-cutting, thoughtless forest buring, unregulated forest grazing, and other misuses of
Our forest wealth, due to popular ignorance and desire for temporary advantage on the part of Our
people.
Afforestation
It is a matter of great concern for Us that the forest wealth which God in His mercy has bestowed
upon Our country is thus being continually reduced and wasted.  Hence it becomes the duty and
obligation of every single Ethiopian to become aware of the tremendous industrial and agricultural
advantages to be derived from Our forest resources, and to practise tree-planting, in order that Our
hills and planes which have been stripped of their wooded cover may once again be clothed in
their green mantle.

The existence or non-existence of forest wealth in a country is one of the most important factors
influencing its development and progress.  The increasing pace of deforestration and the growing
dearth of timber in Ethiopia, caused by unregulated tree-cutting and the failure to replace these by
new plantings, give Us occasions for anxiety that a severe economic problem will confront the
coming generation.  It is essential that steps be taken here and now to stop this wastage and to
check this destruction.

In these days when all nations of the world, in recognition of the tremendous importance of forest
wealth, have launched intensive programmes for forest conservation and re-forestation, it behoves
Our country also to take the appropriate measures to solve this problem.

It is Our wish and Our desire that each and every citizen of Our country follow the example We set
on this Arbour Day in planting this tree, and himself plant as many trees as he can, for his own
benefit as well as the benefit of future generations.
Haile Selassie the First - July 19, 1958