Drying up of Lake Chilwa to affect economy, expert warns

Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) has expressed concern over the drying up of some parts of Lake Chilwa citing it as a threat to Malawi’s economic development.

Speaking to YFM, Professor Sosten Chiotha LEAD’S Executive Director said fishing in the lake is vital for supporting many businesses.

“This situation is not only affecting fishermen but also those involved in the whole business value chain,” he explained.

Chiotha added that this could negatively impact on the economy.

Chiotha gave reference to the 1996 drying when fishing completely disappeared and locals were able to ride bicycles across the lake from Kachulu to Chisi island.

He highlighted that the situation is not surprising since the lake has been known to experience drying episodes since the 1800’s.

He, however bemoaned the worsening of the trend.

“presently it takes as little as 5 years for the drying to reoccur whilst in the past it would take as much as 30 years,” he said.

Lake Chilwa is central for supporting businesses around the lake itself and growth centers within the basin districts of Machinga, Zomba and Phalombe.

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