Malawians are paying a fortune for poor use of natural resources with the latest environmental report stating that the loss is equivalent to about 5.3 percent of the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Speaking during the launch of five environment and economic reports in MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s capital, Lilongwe, on Friday, director of economic planning in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Yona Kamphale, said unsustainable natural resource management has increased poverty in the country.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Malawi pays a high price for unsustainable natural resource use. This cost is equivalent to giving up 5.3 percent of GDP each year. Malawi would be richer by K26.6 billion [about $159.3 million] each year [figures of 2007] if soil, forest, fishery and wildlife resources were used sustainably.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is more than the total funding allocated to the education sector and to the heath sector in the 2009 Budget,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Kamphale when presenting the Economic Valuation of Natural Resource Use in Malawi Report at the launch.
He said studies have shown that farmers have lost a lot of agricultural yield because of unsustainable fishing and soil erosion resulting from cutting down of trees and poor soil management.
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment Vera Chilewani said environmental sustainability is among major challenges Malawi is facing, saying it affects attainment of national and international development goals.
UN resident coordinator Richard Dictus said he is concerned that Malawi has over time transformed from being a carbon absorber to a net contributor because of poor management of natural resources and environment.