DEVELOPMENT: Rooibos Producers Lead Clearing Project
Recent Western Cape Business News
Nearly 2000 hectares of prime Western Cape land, currently infested by alien vegetation, is to be cleared and rehabilitated in an ambitious ten year project initiated by five rooibos tea producers.
The five farms in the Seekoeivlei area near Clanwilliam, in the catchment area of the critically endangered Olifants River in the Cederberg region, stretch over 14074 hectares, with 1891 hectares already mapped to indicate alien vegetation infestation - mainly Port Jackson, rooikrans and blue gums.
The plan is to clear 376 hectares by March 2011, a further 440 hectares from 2011 to 2014, and another 1075 hectares from 2015 to 2020. Some of the cleared land will be restored to pristine fynbos, while other sections will again be used for agriculture.
Government’s community-based National LandCare Programme is the original funder for this alien vegetation clearing project; the project on the five rooibos producing areas will be implemented through the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. Government has already allocated R100 000 this year for initial treatment of top priority areas on the rooibos producing areas and the farmers will cover the remainder of the costs.
Jan Smit, LandCare district manager: West Coast, said that LandCare recommends that the farmers manage the project themselves in order to establish ownership of the project. Ownership is regarded as the first step to ensure regular follow-up of cleared areas - an integral part of a sustainable alien clearing project.
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