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“We wanted to take people from being livestock owners to being livestock farmers”.

My ears pricked up. The words were spoken by Nicky McLeod at the WWF SA Living Planet Conference in Menlyn, Pretoria. She and Sissie Matela had been awarded the WWF SA 2019 Living Planet Award [see separate blog].

The latest Profile of the South African Beef Market Value Chain (2018) speaks of there being some 240 000 small-scale farmers and 3 million subsistence farmers that own around 5.69 million cattle (DAFF, 2018). The challenge has always been to bring these people section into the value chain. There have been various studies and initiatives to this end (see “Beef cattle farming” page).

The ideal of nature conservation is when it is linked with the wellbeing of people. This is what has happened since 2013 in the northern part of the Eastern Cape. The Umzimvubu Catchment Partnership – a grouping of Conservation SA and local NGOs like LIMA Rural Development Foundation, the Institute for Natural Resources, and Environmental and Rural Solutions – and the community have undertaken several projects, one of which is Meat Naturally.

Meat Naturally has gone hand-in-hand with rotational grazing and other Good Agricultural Practice – and seen 3 000 hectares of rangeland restored. Mobile livestock auctions have seen R30 million income and 900 resultant “jobs”.

Other projects involve beekeeping, river health, making charcoal and EcoFutures, the latter being a 12-month internship bringing youth into the green economy.


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