Ricochet News

MEC Qoboshiyane to launch UN funded landcare project in Alice

Oct 5, 2017
MEC Qoboshiyane to launch UN funded landcare project in Alice

As part of a programme to prevent grazing land degradation and erosion, the Eastern Cape MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, is expected to launch a United Nations-funded landcare project at Sompondo village, outside Alice on Thursday morning.

"The project launch follows a successful funding application submitted by Sompondo Village community with the help of a local farming group, the National Emerging Vegetable Growers Organization to the United Nations," said the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform.

"The United Nations approved the funding application, resourcing the locals to fence 212 hectares of grazing land and pack stones to retain soil on the open dongas in the grazing land to re-establish vegetation lost due to erosion."

It said that uncontrolled livestock movements, acacia mearnsii or black wattle invasion of grazing land, surface erosion and compaction on the wetlands caused degradation in the village reducing grazing land for about 408 goats, 608 sheep and 344 cattle owned by local livestock farmers and owners.

"The R964 000 funding from the United Nations is aimed at fencing grazing land, removing black wattle, improving basal cover of the grazing land, rehabilitating dongas and protecting wetlands through fencing.

"The project is expected to improve calving and weaning percentage, animal livemass, grazing capacity, and provide temporary jobs," the department added.

"The land care programme is one of the government’s initiatives to ensure sustainable utilization of natural resources like soil, water and vegetation to contribute towards the growth of the agriculture sector by reducing poverty through agriculture production, temporary jobs and skills development."

During the launch, MEC Qoboshiyane will also release a status report on the landcare programme from 2014 to 2017.