Ethiopians planted more than 200 million trees on July 29, which officials say would set a world record. The ambitious initiative of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed aims to contribute to the restoration of the national landscape which, according to experts, is eroding rapidly due to deforestation and climate change.
The state-run Fana Broadcasting Corporate has announced that more than 224 million trees were planted on Monday, exceeding the initial target of 200 million trees planted in one day.
"Today, Ethiopia aims to break the world record together for a green legacy," tweeted the prime minister's office Monday morning. Early Monday, Abiy planted trees in southern Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is in the midst of a tree-planting campaign in which it plans to plant 4 billion trees between May and October. Agriculture officials said that to date, more than 2.6 billion trees have been planted in almost all parts of East Africa.
According to Farm Africa, an organization involved in forest management in Ethiopia, less than 4% of the country's land is now forested, a sharp decline of about 30% by the end of the 19th century. Ethiopia's rapidly growing population and the need for more agricultural land, unsustainable forest use and climate change are often cited as causes of rapid deforestation.
In addition to ordinary Ethiopians, various international organizations and the business community have joined the tree-planting frenzy that aims to surpass India's record of planting trees in 2007, estimated at 66 million.