By Nevson Mpofu
Zimbabwe through Environmental Management Agency and its stakeholders is currently running a spate of workshops to implement United Nations Convention to combat Desertification. The Convention seeks to reduce desertification, Land degradation and drought. This is done through adoption of sound and suitable Land and Water Management Technologies.
Addressing delegates at a workshop in the city of Harare Environmental Management Authority Director of Environmental Management Services Steady Kangata said Land and Water Management issue is of national importance. The two link each other to harness Agriculture which results in job creation , Agricultural output making up the outcome and coming with the impact , that is food security and Nutrition ,
‘’Zimbabwe is signatory to the convention. There-fore Land is the basis of our Agricultural, Industrial and social-economic development .As a country we need to implement the United Nations Convention to combat Desertification. The implementation makes us remain sustainable in terms of Land and Water development so that we can be sustained by Agricultural production.’’
The World today at 7 and half billion relies on land for economic growth. Growth comes with development. Development sustains human development. The result of food security results in good well-nourished nation which grows with nutrition security. The process of land utilisation creates challenges if not sustainably managed both at country and local level.
Land degradation is characterised by reduction and loss of biological and economic productivity of the land. Causes of land degradation are continuing to increase at the expense of farmers and the general population. The human induced factors are a result of poorly managed Agricultural practices, over extraction of land resources, deforestation, veld fires and unsustainable mining activities.
‘’Environmental Management Agency is working out hard to reduce Anthropogenic factors , that is human activities which cause land degradation , results in water , air and land pollution . This in the long run results in poor utilisation of the Land. The results affects communities which face hunger and poverty.
‘’There is no doubt that Malnutrition because of lack of Nutrition security and food security, poverty increases and families get impoverished. The ultimate result of this leads to low productivity, therefore production decreases.
‘’In a move to move towards sustainable development, we have to look at the three, that is to combat desertification, degradation and drought. The three affect the people, the land and water management systems. These become very difficult to manage.
‘’There-fore Sustainable Water and Land Management Systems are crucial in every day management of natural resources. As a country ratified to the Convention, we need to work towards eradication of activities which results in poor land and water management.
One of the problems Kangata talked of is the Invasive Alien Species brought by cultural baggage.
‘’I am talking about those goods, luggage brought from outside. Some of them carry from their respective countries what we do not have here.
‘’There is a link between us and what I call aliens who bring the baggage from their countries. They carry with them species which later harm our crops. Good example is lantana camara which causes land degradation.
‘’So what we need to do is to maintain Land. The cost of maintaining Land is US3, 93 million dollars which is 60% of Gross Domestic Product. Then it means countries have to work on policies to do with the Environment, Economic Growth and Development and to reduce poverty through implementation of programs, interventions and applying holistic strategies’’. Kangata concluded assurin Journalists that all programs of the nature to do with sustainable water and land management will succeed .
It has been researched qualitatively that poor management of water and land resulting in land degradation reduces the Growth Domestic Product of any country. It then leads to low Growth/per capita, low productivity, human capital and low growth and unsustainable human development.
If the cost of maintaining Land costs US3, 93 million dollars it means the increase in degradation automatically leads to increase in extreme poverty and hunger.
According to the Expert, Steady Kangata , an Investment in US 1 towards sustainable water and land comes with a profit of US3 . In simple mathematics, as a country we can reduce, eradicate or even totally eliminate hunger, poverty related to loss of bio-diversity, loss of water and land resources. Zimbabwe with a total of 15 million people, if each invests a US1 dollar, by the end of the day we get US 45 million in excess to SUSTAINABLE WATER AND LAND MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS..