The National LandCare Programme is a government supported initiative, implemented throughout the country. It is a community-based programme that seeks to:
- conserve our resources
- use them in a sustainable way
- create a conservation ethic through education and awareness
- create jobs and address poverty by launching various natural resource rehabilitation, improvement and conservation projects
Serious concerns about land and water degradation, which impact on sustainable resource use, are identified in each province, and specific projects address these issues. Projects are implemented in all nine provinces through the Landcare Conditional Grant whereby ringed-fenced funding is transferred to provinces in terms of the yearly Division of Revenue Act. Provinces then undertake the implementation of the projects under set conditions.
Water care, Veld care, Soil care and Junior LandCare initiatives are all part of this programme.
In the Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP), scaling up the LandCare programme is seen as a “policy lever” in the country’s promotion of Climate-Smart Agriculture.
Why is LandCare important?
- You and everyone else, rely on the land for food, shelter and an income.
- Land is valuable and should be looked after – otherwise we will not be able to use it in the future.
- If we degrade and misuse the land, our quality of life will deteriorate.
- If we do not look after the land, we will pay a high price for the damage it suffers.
LandCare is about:
- redressing past resource degradation
- correct resource management
- communities working together
- caring for the land in your area
- your future quality of life
- improving the environment
- securing food for tomorrow
What can you do?
- form or join a land care group in your community and get involved
- plan and manage land to prevent degradation
- restore damaged areas
- promote conservation practices
- form a land care conservancy (see “Conservancies and farming” chapter)
- recycle and re-use paper, glass, plastic and metal
The WaterCare theme establishes a framework for managing land and preventing the silt-up of dams for irrigation. WaterCare works in partnership with the community to develop action plans for managing and restoring irrigation schemes. The rehabilitation of irrigation schemes increases water supply and household food security. Furthermore, WaterCare promotes the development of techniques for water-resource management and encourages opportunities for training in this field.
VeldCare promotes best grazing-systems and erosion-prevention practices to improve production. It develops and maintains agricultural activities in accordance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development. Economic and social development opportunities are realised by improving grazing areas and maintaining viable grazing areas throughout rural communities.
SoilCare encourages rural farmers to build innovative structures to combat soil erosion, and to address the depletion of soil fertility and low soil acidity which severely limit the production potential. Through SoilCare, sustainable agricultural production systems are introduced, such as diversification, management of input and conservation agriculture (CA – see separate chapter).
The objectives of Junior LandCare are to empower previously disadvantaged youth through training in facilitation and leadership skills. This includes the promotion of food security at home and at schools, awareness of sustainable agriculture, and stimulating the formation of youth clubs and projects that aim to promote other components of LandCare. JuniorCare addresses the needs of young people in an integrated way and involves interdisciplinary approaches.
National strategy and government contact
LandCare is part of the government’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). Take a look at www.epwp.gov.za.
- Directorate: Land Use and Soil Management Tel: 012 319 7656 / 7687 / 7553 / 7685 / 7896
- Visit www.daff.gov.za, website of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Take the “Programmes” and then “LandCare” options. Guidelines and other documents are available here.
- Read about the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) LandCare facilitation AgriSETA training at http://regqs.saqa.org.za/viewQualification.php?id=49626
- Read about the related Working for Land (WfL) project run by the Department of Environmental Affairs at www.environment.gov.za/projectsprogrammes/wfl
Want to form a LandCare group? Before you apply, please contact the local LandCare Manager or facilitator for assistance (contact details above). If you are successful, you will be asked to sign a programme management agreement. This agreement sets out the conditions for funding, including your responsibility to keep proper accounting records for the spending of funds from grants, and reporting requirements on the progress and results of your programme.