R22 mln for rural project

2013-08-26 00:00

Funding for game farm approved, to create 80 jobs

WATER and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has launched a R22 million Green Fund project in the uPhongolo Local Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal.

Known as “Farming the wild”, the initiative is a community-based project supported by the Green Fund. It aims to green the rural community of Somkhanda through the establishment of the Somkhanda Community Game Reserve.

The Green Fund is a national fund, under the Department of Environmental Affairs and managed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), which supports South Africa’s transition to a green economy. It provides finance to facilitate investment in greening initiatives, such as the establishment of this game reserve.

“The Somkhanda game reserve application for support was successful and is funded to the value of R22 million, as a green economy solution suitable for the rural areas of South Africa.

“It has the potential to be replicated across poor rural areas, with particular potential in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. The sustainable use and conservation of wild animals and indigenous vegetation resources have the ability to green and transform the poor rural economy of South Africa,” said the department on Friday.

The land on which the game reserve is founded was restored to the community of Somkhanda through the land reform process in 2005. The community decided to place the majority of the land under conservation and create a game reserve that would be an economic engine driving development in the area.

The Somkhanda community has formed partnerships with the Wildlands Conservation Trust and the World Wildlife Fund to guide them in establishing the game reserve.

Through this partnership, various skills development projects have been introduced to members of the community. The Somkhanda game reserve is a participant of the Black Rhino Range Expansion Programme, which introduces rare and endangered black rhino to the reserve.

Some of the game already purchased include buffalo, impala and zebra.

“Revenue can be generated from hunting, live game sales, game products and eco-tourism. The project will create about 80 jobs. Thus far, 28 permanent and 15 temporary jobs have been created,” said the department.

The project will be implemented by the Wildlands Conservation Trust, who will co-ordinate all financial expenditure of the project.

Molewa also launched the South African Green Economy Modelling report, which explores the question of whether equal or higher growth could be achieved with a more sustainable, equitable and resilient economy.

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