Total Land Care says SAMALA Project addressing land degradation in 4 districts

By Vincent Gunde

Total Land Care, an implementing partner for the Dowa District Council says its Sustainable Management of Landscapes (SAMALA) Project is addressing critical issue of land degradation through a holistic approach to restore degraded lands in the four districts of Mzimba, Kasungu, Ntchisi and Dowa.

SAMALA project started in September, 2022 to 2027 is being implemented through a consortium with ICRAF being one of the partners, has seen improving catchment management with sustained land productivity, strengthening inclusive community governance structures and local institutions for sustainable management of landscapes, among other key objectives.

Dec members in Dowa sharing knowledge and experiences on SAMALA project

The project which is being implemented in Mzimba (Luwerezi and Khosolo EPAs), Kasungu (Chulu EPAs), Ntchisi (Kalira and Chikwatula EPAs) and in Dowa at Nachisaka and Nalunga EPAs has seen 88 forest areas demarcated in database with 57 villages and 3 individual forest areas utilizing the forests.

SAMALA Project’s Programs Manager Ethel Chilumpha, said selection of Expansion Planning Areas (EPAs) were based on information from the district office about land degradation in the EPAs, and soil erosion rates from the Department of Land Resources Conservation.

She said communities of the impact areas are utilizing the forests for fruits, mushroom, stick bugs (Mphalabungu), fuel wood saying the project has trained Lead farmers in soil, and water conservation measures.

The manager said the project has increased land tenure security and community knowledge on existing regulatory frameworks and diversification and strengthening of livelihoods to achieve the planned objectives.

She said in agroforestry, the project has conducted field scooping study led by ICRAF team to assess agroforestry needs on the ground saying crops dominated in sites are maize, soya beans, g/nuts, common beans and vegetables.

“Producer groups were trained in bulking and collective marketing to increase bargaining power,” said Chilumpha.
She said good collaboration and coordination with stakeholders has simplified implementation arrangements for SAMALA Project expressing hope that this will continue up to the time of the project’s expiry in the impact districts.

Sustainable Management of Landscapes (SAMALA) Project is being implemented in the 4 districts of Mzimba, Kasungu, Ntchisi and Dowa with funds from the Irish aid and Flanders Government amounting to 4,749,942.65 Euros.