Implementers of the Malawi Watershed Services Improvement Project (MWASIP) say the project will go a long way in supporting the implementation of the National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy (NFLRS) which among others estimated that nearly 7.7 million hectares of degraded land require restoration intervention.
This has been highlighted on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, during a media engagement session held at Malawi Sun hotel, where among others journalists were drilled more on the project’s components and effective models to disseminate information related to the project.
According to the Technical team leader for planning, monitoring, and evaluation of the project, James Kumwenda the MWASIP project is the first in a ‘Series of Projects’ complementing NFLRS which seeks to restore 4.5 million ha of the degraded landscape by 2030.
Kumwenda explained that the project consists of three components such as; improving Watershed Services, Technical and Project Management Support, and scaling up Landscape Restoration through which government is to scale up landscape restoration interventions in the Shire River Basin and other priority river basins such as Linthipe, Bua, and Dwangwa River Basins.
He said; “The upper and middle parts of the Shire River Basin alone provide the opportunity to restore more than 2.6 million hectares of the degraded landscape. This value represents more than half (57 percent) of the NFLRS target.”
“The Shire River Basin is, therefore, a priority watershed for achieving GoM’s strategic goals as laid out in the NFLRS and will, therefore, require continuing restoration intervention beyond this project.”
Kumwenda added; “The project will benefit national, district and community-level institutions by providing essential tools, knowledge, and strengthening their capacity to continue investing in sustainable landscape management beyond the project period.”
The project is estimated to cost a total of US$160 million of which US$78.5 million will be an IDA credit equivalent, while another US$78.5 million will be an IDA Grant of equivalent and government is to pump in US$3 million.
Then Kumwenda also cited that the advancement of the project shall be determined based on the Proportion of target farmers adopting sustainable landscape management practice; Land area (ha) under sustainable landscape management practices; Land area (ha) showing an increase in Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the Land Surface Water Index (LSWI) among others.