Zomba — Fish farmers from Sub Traditional Authority Nkapita in Zomba have expressed concern of the early drying up of rivers which has affected supply of water to their fish ponds.
One of the fish farmers from Group village head Nkasala, Bakali Malosa said the drying up of rivers is as a result of degradation in most river banks.
"Our ponds are not surviving because rivers are not supplying enough water throughout the year as it was used to be some years back, " Malosa said.
He said this is forcing many people to quit fish farming.
Malosa added that previously, rivers in the area could supply water for fish farming and irrigation farming throughout the year, but things are not the same nowadays.
He further said because of this early drying up of fish ponds, farmers are forced to harvest their fish before October.
"Such a situation is not good because we may end up losing some of the fish species," Malosa said.
He called for the need to restore the environment mainly along the river banks to reverse the situation.
"We need to check our river banks, restore the degraded resources to get our rivers back to the normal way of supplying water throughout the year."
In a separate interview, a forestry official for the area Aida Moffat acknowledged the problem but was quick to say that efforts to reverse the situation are in place.
"We are engaging community members in restoring natural resources to minimize exposure of the rivers to sunlight," Moffat said.
She further said that department of forestry formulated committees in each village to conduct patrols in Zomba Mountain forest which is source of all rivers in the area.
Moffat hailed organizations such as United Purpose, Shire River Basin Management Project and the Zomba Forestry Department for the support they render to communities towards environmental conservation.
Nkapita area and the whole of Zomba district face threats of environmental degradation due to rampant illegal charcoal production.