Dar es Salaam. Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan will tomorrow launch a taskforce of members from four ministries that have linked up with the Ministry of State in the Office of the Vice President (Union and Environment) in efforts to save the Great Ruaha River Basin faced with acute environmental degradation.
Addressing the media yesterday, Minister of State in the Office of the Vice President (Union and Environment) Mr January Makamba, said the team will work for one month.
The first meeting, which Ms Hassan will be officiating, will be held in Iringa. The ministries involved include the Ministry of Land and Housing Development; Agriculture, livestock and Fisheries; Natural Resources and Tourism and the Ministry of Water.
Mr Makamba said that because of environmental degradation, there is lack of water for the animals and plants in the Ruaha National Park, which minimizes attraction and tourism revenues. Various attempts have so far made including to evacuation of farmers and pastoralists from the basin’s sources of water but were unsuccessful.
The minister said the authorities had created the national taskforce to rescue the basin under the Environment Act of 2004.
The meeting on Tuesday will also be attended by Minister of Lands, William Lukuvi, Prof Jumanne Maghembe (Natural Resources and Tourism), Gerson Lwenge (Water and Irrigation), Dr. Charles Tizeba (Agriculture and Livestock) and Makamba himself.
“We hope to collect opinions from all stakeholders, including citizens surrounding the basin on ways of environmental conservation in taking necessary measures to control environmental damage and correcting the encountered environmental damage,” he said.
Importance of Ruaha River valley
Mr Makamba said various economic activities, including cultivation and pastoralism depend on the basin which is a big national reserve that covers 20,226sqkm, which is the largest in East Africa.
The basin is paramount since it pours its water to Kilombelo River Basin and Rufiji which contributes 20 per cent of GDP.
“The basin accounts for 80 percent of the production of the electricity generated in the country in Kidatu and Mtera water pools,” he said. Director of the Environment in the Ministry, Mr Richard Muyungi, said the use chemical rich fertiliser in agriculture is one of the current challenges in the basin.