Blantyre district council through the agriculture sector has launched a district-based catchment conservation management project to address land degradation problems and climate change impacts
Launching the project on Thursday at Mkajdi sub-catchment in Kunthembwe EPA in Blantyre, District Commissioner Alex Mdooko described the project as essential for stimulating interest and mobilising communities for action in the implementation of climate-smart agriculture practices and other integrated catchment management.
“This project which falls under the World Bank-funded Malawi Watershed Services Improvement Project (MWASIP) is the continuation of the Shire River basin project that was implemented in this area some years ago to curtail the production of charcoal which was hugely practiced by some communities.
“This is why today we are launching this catchment conservation to encourage communities to participate in conservation management work to restore the environment and very soon, such participating members will be provided with matching grants to venture into non-charcoal businesses to support their livelihoods,” he said.
He then encouraged communities to participate in the catchment conservation in large numbers and also take ownership of the project to ensure that there is sustainability.
In her remarks, Chief Agriculture Officer for Blantyre District Mphatso Kafuwa said in the project, participants will be involved in the management of village forest areas, and also land resource management activities such as the construction of swales, and tree planting exercises among others.
One of the beneficiaries Eneless Lungu of Mkajdi catchment hailed the project, encouraging other communities to participate in its implementation.
Lungu who is also the chairperson of the Mkajdi Catchment Management Committee attested: “From the time we started implementing catchment conservation and other climate-smart agriculture in this place, our crop yields have been doubled sometimes tripled in each passing year and we have also managed to engage in livestock production.
“…and today we are more than happy that as the launch of the project means our lives will continue to be transformed for the better both socially and economically.”
The catchment management launch was held under the theme ‘integrated catchment management for improved food security and climate resilience.