The Lubombo Project - UP and CIRAD in partnership to strengthen local economies

The Mathenjwa Community, to the North of the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa, has lived in isolation from mainstream economy for quite some time. Local economies in the Usuthu Gorge area and surrounding land are mostly dependent on small scale subsistence farming and are highly dependent on natural resources for day to day survival. Agro-ecological conditions, characterized by a drought-prone climate and poor soils, make farming difficult and highly susceptible to climate change effects. Low literacy and poor access to markets and infrastructure generate abject poverty. Consequently, a significant part of the population experiences chronic food shortage. Yet, the area supports a range of touristic, eco-touristic and cultural opportunities such as game reserves, archaeological remains, scenic beauty and community-based tourism, but also large unprotected pristine areas, the target of both conservationists and developers. The area being part of the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation area, there is a need to develop innovative, biodiversity- and heritage-friendly agricultural practices which can lead to the coexistence of conservation and development objectives. CIRAD and the Centre for Environmental Studies (CFES) at the University of Pretoria are working in this area to develop practical answers such as valuing ecosystem services, promoting landscape heterogeneity and diversifying farming enterprises and to contribute to the formulation of adequate policy from national to local level. (read...)

publie le 26/10/2011

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