Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Dr. Michael Usi has said there is need for more support to boost reforms currently underway in the natural resources and wildlife sector.  Dr. Usi was speaking during the handover ceremony of assorted field equipment and uniforms to Lengwe National Park in Chikwawa by the Shire Valley Transformation Programme (SVTP).  The Programme presented uniforms, tents, ranger hats, boots and GPS Trackers among others.  SVTP Community Development Specialist, Dr. Stanley Khaila presented the items on behalf of the Programme. The items are to the tune of Seventy Million Kwacha (MK70 million).

The Programme through its Natural Resource Management (NRM) sub-component is working on issues of wildlife, environmental conservation and eco-tourism in five protected areas in the Shire Valley including Lengwe National Park, Majete Wildlife Reserve, Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve, the Elephant Marsh, and Matandwe Forest Reserve with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).  The funding is to the tune of $5.6 million for a period of five years. 

Speaking during the handover ceremony, Honorable Dr. Usi thanked the SVTP for the timely support and reiterated Governmentโ€™s commitment to reforms in the natural resources and wildlife conservation sector. 

โ€œI would like to thank the SVTP for this timely support to Lengwe National Park.  This will go a long way in addressing some of the challenges officials are facing in this Park.  I would like to reiterate Governmentโ€™s commitment to boosting the sector through reforms.  We will maintain regular dialogue with officials in our protected areas to ensure that challenges are addressed accordingly.  I would also like to call upon officials in the Park to continue being disciplined and committed to protecting wildlife and natural resources,โ€ Honorable Dr. Usi said.  Dr. Usi also encouraged the officials to continue working with communities to ensure that both wildlife and natural resources are protected in the area. 

Speaking on behalf of Lengwe National Park junior staff, Parks and Wildlife Assistant Shaibu Kadewere thanked the SVTP for the support and made a plea to government to address challenges faced by the rangers.  

The SVTP through its NRM sub-component has so far supported the Park with a grader for upgrading roads and constructing new access roads linking new and old Lengwe, food rations for rangers during patrols, motorbikes for patrols, electricity upgrade at Nyala Lodge,  furnishing Nyala Lodge with furniture, curtains, cattery and communication equipment, field protective wear and equipment. Plans are underway to construct two new camp sites, some houses to assist with housing challenges in the Park and a new bridge over Mkombezi River to ease access challenges especially during the rainy season.