Dzonzi-Mvai Forest Reserves Grappling With Encroachment
Ntcheu District Council has conceded that it is struggling to evict encroachers in the Dzonzi-Mvai Forest Reserves as illegal settlers have returned to the protected areas taking over 800 hectares of land.
Council's Spokesperson, Maston Kaiya claims despite 120 people voluntarily leaving Dzonzi Forest after a court determination last year, 400 people have gone back to the Forest.
"Encroachers have taken over 800 hectares of land in Mvai Forest Reserve alone. However, efforts to evict the encroachers are progressing, though at snail pace," he said.
He has attributed the challenge due to limited resources, inadequate staff to enhance patrols beside a lack of coordination between authorities among others.
An environmental activist, Maloto Chimkombero feels awareness of surrounding communities is key to addressing the problem.
"The council needs to frequently engage surrounding communities on the adverse of encroachment and find lasting solutions," he said.
Dzonzi-Mvai Forest Reserves in Ntcheu covers an area of 10, 044 hectares of land. However, encroachment remains the biggest challenge as people cultivate in the two protected areas.