By Leonard Masauli
Government says is committed to restore 4.5 million hectares of degraded lands in Malawi to achieve zero degradation and a 25 percent land improvement by 2030.
This was said in a statement made on the side lines of Conference for United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) taking place in Abidjan, Cote d’ivoire, monitored virtually with support from Earth Journalism Network.
Minister of Natural Resources and Climate Change, Eisenhower Mkaka who is representing the President Dr Lazarus Chakwera at the Conference said Malawi is not spared in land degradation issues, as well as experiences of frequent and severe climate change and related droughts and floods in recent years.
He said however, the country is geared to restore 4.5million hectares of degraded lands come the year 2030 and reduce some of the climatic impacts.
“Malawi has also a Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting report which was produced in 2017 with support from the UNCCD secretariat. The report has defined and categorised areas to be rehabilitated by 2030 with the aim of achieving a zero degradation and a 25 percent land improvement.
“This is an ambitious target, together with 4.5 million Bonn Challenge and AFR100 target set for 2030,” said Mkaka
Mkaka said however, achieving land degradation neutrality and restoring the degraded lands, relies heavily on the support of international organisations and the Global Mechanism of the Conventions’ efforts to mobilise adequate resources in order to enhance sustainable land management activities.
The Malawi’s National Focal Point to the UNCCD Convention, and Deputy Director of Forestry, Teddie Kamoto said on Wednesday that statistics show that around 7.8 million hectares of land is degraded against the total of land area of 8.1million hectares.
Kamoto said with degradation, farmers can cultivate but they cannot produce enough food to sustain their families.
“However, we have a number of initiatives at play, such as the landscape restoration strategy as Forestry department, and so far, we have restored about 1.5 million degraded lands. So far, we are looking up to about 2 million lands to be restored by end of this year,” said Kamoto
He further added that the program of restoration will also engage the youths, mostly those registered by the UNCCD and will get support as per the trees planted.
Commenting on the COP15 agenda back home, Famers Union of Malawi (FUM) President Frighton Nyolomole said as FUM, they have various tenets of sustainable land management with focus on Climate smart agricultural practices, intercropping and crop rotation to ensure reduced land degradation and improved soil fertility.
Njolomole said FUM is also involved in land and catchment restoration activities through promotion of tree planting across its members; saying currently it has partnered with FDH Bank to plant 1 million trees in the next three years under Go Green Initiative.
At the Conference opening on 9th May, UN Deputy Secretary- General, Amina Mohammed, said restoration of one billion hectares of degraded land between now and 2030 and future-proofing people, their homes and lands against the impacts of disaster risks linked to climate change, such as droughts, and sand and dust storms.
The COP15 is also expected to agree on policy actions to provide an enabling environment for land restoration through stronger tenure rights, gender equality, land use planning and youth engagement to draw private sector investment to conservation, farming, and land uses and practices to improve the health of the land.