21 September 2018
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Monday, 21 May 2018 12:08

Paramount Chief expresses worry over deforestation at Chikala Hill

Written by  Patrick Ndawala
Illegal logging like this (pictured) bemoaned by chiefs - File Photo Illegal logging like this (pictured) bemoaned by chiefs - File Photo

Machinga, May 21, 2018: Paramount Chief Kawinga of Machinga has expressed concern over the excessive cutting down of tress by communities surrounding Chikala hill.

He asked Machinga District Council and other players to quickly find a solution to the problem.

Kawinga said this Sunday during a field visit to interventions under Climate Proofing Project which is being implemented in three Traditional Authorities (TAs) Mlomba, Nyambi and Chikweo in the district.

The Chief said the increased cutting down of tress by Chaone communities at the top of Chikala hill is negatively affecting people living downhill.

“In the past rivers from Chikala hill used to supply drinking water for people around TA Kawinga, Mlomba and Liwonde. Nowadays these communities are struggling to access water as the rivers have dried up,” Kawinga recalled.

The Paramount Chief said whilst the effort under climate proofing project were commendable he doubted their sustainability if trees were not replenished.

“The project has constructed Namose irrigation scheme and it is helping communities with winter cropping and rice farming. The project is helping communities with modern fish farming and bee keeping,” he pointed out.

However, these interventions require availability of natural resources such as water and trees. We just have to come in quickly to stop people from cutting down trees. Otherwise all these investments will not last long,” he said.

Group village Chibojola said it was sad to note that whilst his subjects were busy conserving the environment through bee keeping and fish pond farming others uphill were doing the opposite.

“We cannot confront those destroying the environment uphill because they are very volatile. We don’t want to fight them that is why we are asking government to intervene in stopping them from cutting down trees,” he said.

Climate Proofing Project Coordinator for Machinga Charrison Tengatenga concurred with both leaders adding the project is very concern with deforestation taking place at Chikala hill since it is a source of water for Namose irrigation scheme.

“The most unfortunate thing is that Chikala hill is not within the project catchment area. We could have carried out other interventions to stop the malpractice if the area was part of our working territory,” he said.

Tengatenga assured the council that the project is ready to support them with resources that can lead to the restoration of Chikala hill.

On climate proofing project, both Kawinga and Chipojola appreciated the good work the project is doing in the district.

Kawinga was particularly impressed with the 18 hectares’ irrigation scheme at lower Namose where 136 farmers are cultivating rice.

Climate proofing project goal is to empower communities to integrate climate considerations in development work and it is financed by Global Environmental Facility through United Nations Development Programme (UNPD)

The five-year project started in 2015 and is being implemented as pilot in Machinga and Mangochi districts.

In Machinga the project is installing a solar powered irrigation schemes in TA Chikweo and Nyambi and has already supported interventions such as tree regeneration, soil conservation, seed multiplication.

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