Tembo says 9,576 hectares of landscapes were restored under Shire River project

Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Nancy Tembo, says Shire River Basin Management project restored 9,576 hectares of degraded landscapes and the restored sites are traceable.

She was reacting to claims that her ministry spent US$50 million (K40 billion) on a tree planting project but no single tree can be traced.

According to Tembo, 2,887 Tree nurseries were established in Neno, Blantyre, Zomba, Machinga, Mangochi, Nsanje and Chikwawa districts. She added that 9,576 hectares of degraded landscapes were restored and the restored sites are traceable.

The first phase of the project concentrated on planning for the Shire Basin as per the design including consultations, setting up local structures committee and project Committee.

Component B involved catchment rehabilitation, livelihood support, ecological management and development of institutional capacity for catchment planning and management.

Tembo said the total budget of Component B was US$45,000 but was revised to US$26,253,638 with actual the expenditure being US$26,637 and some funds were reallocated to Kamuzu Barrage and Shire Basin Building in Blantyre.

According to the Minister, there were about 400,000 beneficiaries in in the project which was implemented from 2012 to 2019.

Tembo then complained that the Tonse Alliance is being accusing of abusing funds for a project which was implemented before Tonse came into power.

The Shire River Basin project was aimed at achieving a Shire River Basin planning framework and to improve land and water management for ecosystem and livelihood benefits in target areas.