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7,8 million tonnes of soil nutrients lost yearly — Nhema

A cabinet minister has challenged Zimbabweans to practise good land use through land conversation, as it played a critical role in the mitigation of drought and water scarcity in the country.

By Don Makanyanga

Speaking ahead of the World Day to Combat Desertification to be commemorated tomorrow, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Francis Nhema urged Zimbabweans to adopt conservative land use methods as the country was badly affected by poor land practices that degraded the environment.

“In Zimbabwe soil erosion carries away an annual average of 1,6 million tonnes of nitrogen, 15,6 million tonnes of organic matter and 0,24 million of phosphorus,” said Nhema.

“A total of 17,8 million tonnes of soil nutrients are lost on arable land only each year due to land degradation.”

The Natural Resources minister said all Zimbabweans were responsible for land conservation, as failing to do so would affect natural resources and precipitate environmental changes in the future.
“Land degradation does not have to threaten our future, we need to take corrective action and promote the use of sustainable land management practices such as reforestation, restoration of soil productivity and reduction of soil erosion through sustainable land cover management, organic farming and agro-forestry,” he said.

Nhema added that correct land practices were key to food security and to a clean supply of fresh water to the country.

“Avoiding land degradation and restoring degraded land does not only keep our ecosystems working, but contributes to freshwater and food security,” he said.

Belated commemorations would be held in Gwanda on June 20 under the theme Drought and Water scarcity — Don’t let our future dry up, a theme that seeks to create awareness on the risks of drought and water scarcity in dry regions.

The World Day to Combat Desertification has been observed since 1995 to promote public awareness relating to international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought.

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