The Sunday News
Walter Mswazie in Masvingo
THE Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry has secured a US$10 million grant from Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) meant for the reclamation of Runde Catchment area, an official has said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Runde Catchment area land degradation workshop in Masvingo last week, chief environmental officer in the ministry, Mr Joseph Shoko said the money was meant to bring sanity to the environment. He said there was a lot of land degradation due to human activity.
“We have secured funding under the global environmental facility which is administered by FAO to the tune of US$10 million. The grant is meant to help us reclaim Runde Catchment area. We are having this workshop to come up with a working document after which the funder is expected to release the funds. While I cannot tell when the project will start, I assure the nation that by 2030 we would have reclaimed 70 percent of our forestry around Runde Catchment area.”
He said the project will also benefit Bikita and Chivi districts that share the Runde catchment area.
“Our aim is to involve the community in this project and even the recently crafted forestry policy has taken care of that aspect. There is nothing we can do without involvement of the community who coincidentally, are responsible for the environmental degradation. We have experienced an increase in population settlement and through their activities have caused untold depletion of the vegetation.”
He said on a yearly basis the catchment area lost at least 10 percent of land cover.
“The catchment area also experiences 3,7 percent of land degradation in addition to the 10 percent depletion of grazing land per year. So this means in 10 years there won’t be any forestry or pastures to talk about and it is a cause of grave concern,” he said.
Mr Shoko said the ministry in conjunction with other stakeholders was engaging communities, urging them to plant indigenous trees in the catchment area. He said communities should continue to embrace Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) which have proven effective in reclaiming degraded land.