MwaPATA Institute – a local agricultural policy think tank – has called for greater investments in interventions initiated and designed to improve soil health in Malawi.
The institute’s Board Chairperson Professor Richard Mkandawire warned that the country risks turning into desert if the government and its partners do not address the soil health crisis.
Mkandawire made the remarks in Lilongwe on Thursday during a breakfast the organization prepared for editors and senior journalists.
The MwAPATA Institute Board Chairperson said it is high time Malawi moved towards reforms and policies that would help in addressing depletion of soil nutrients.
“And one of the foremost areas that need to be addressed is the continued depletion in Malawi’s soils. And we need investments in that particular area. And one of the recommendations emerging is that some of the resources probably, which are directed towards fertilizer, should also be directed towards improving our soils,” said Mkandawire.
He indicated that Malawi has some of the most depleted soils in the Africa Region, stressing that it is critical to find ways of investing in the soils.
“There are times when one wonders whether this country will be turned into a desert, and I think we need double efforts. We need you know, every effort possible to ensure that, you know, we actually move towards our programs that are, you know, cool, conserve our forests, conserve our, you know, various ecosystem instead of losing millions of tons of our soils into Lake Malawi, and eventually to the Indian Ocean,” he said.
“I think we need to return them. You can’t imagine how much of the dollar value we’re actually exporting through loss of nutrients. And one of the issues that whichever agent might have to do is to really quantify how much of all the nutrients that are lost can be translated into the loss of dollars, because that nutrient needs to be replaced. And it cannot be replaced by you know, fertilizer alone. It’s got to be replaced by other, you know, mechanisms including the moving towards investing in our soils,” he emphasized.