Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Minister, Honourable Kondwani Nankhumwa, MP, on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 bemoaned the degradation that mountains are suffering in this country despite their immense importance to the social and economic development of the nation.
Honourable Nankhumwa, who is also Leader of Government Business in Parliament, said this when he presided over International Mountain Day 2019 celebrations held at Likhubula in Mulanje. The celebrations in Mulanje were held with an aim to increase awareness on the importance of mountains for the health of the planet and well-being of billions of people.
Honourable Nankhumwa said mountain ecosystems are under serious threat from over-exploitation driven by poverty and rapid population growth. He added that mountains have been encroached for settlement and cultivation causing extensive deforestation. Unsustainable cultivation practices in mountainous areas have also resulted in severe land degradation leading to soil erosion and siltation of rivers and other water bodies downstream, he said, adding that this affects other sectors of the economy, including electricity generation in the energy sector.
In his remarks, Blantyre Water Board Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Chaweza, whose organisation has benefitted from the water tapped from Mulanje Mountain explained that the water boards and other stakeholders in the water sector will continue to take care of catchment areas as well as mountains as they are a source of water for the people.
The International Mountain Day was set by the United Nations (UN) in 2002, as part of the International Year of Mountains, which was first held in 2003.