Rangelands Regeneration partners Beitbridge West communities to unlock wildlife potential

The Chronicle

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau  

Rangelands Regeneration Trust and communities in Beitbridge West have partnered to create an integrated conservancy for both wildlife and livestock management to boost the area’s economic development initiatives.

The Integrated Management Area (IMA), is expected to cover areas under Wards 6, 7, 8, and 9, and the Nottingham Estate, Sentinel Safaris, and Mangwanani farm all falling under the Greater Mapungubwe Trans-frontier Area (GMTFCA).

It is envisaged that the IMA will be developed as a world-class tourism destination, with increased wildlife populations.

Rangelands Regeneration Project coordinator, Mr Methuseli Maphala said consultations with the communities and all responsible authorities were done last year and that they were now at the implementation stages.

He said so far, they had spent US$80 000 on livestock and smart agriculture-related projects under the same initiative.

“As an organization, we are partnering with local authorities and communities on a broad range of initiatives to unlock the full potential of Beitbridge West and drive economic development,” said Mr Maphala.

“Engagements with various arms of the government, community leaders, and members of the communities from sixteen villages of Wards 6, 7, 8, and 9 in Beitbridge have been done.

“The cornerstone project is the development of an ‘Integrated Management Area’ within the Greater Mapungubwe Trans-frontier Conservation Area, which will be developed as a world-class tourism destination”.

This area, he said, will have increased wildlife populations linked to improved management and protection methods, and investments in the development of high-end lodges and other tourism offerings.

Mr Maphala said the IMA model incorporates community-owned livestock that is managed in a holistic manner through combined herding and planned to graze.

He said integrating wildlife and livestock had proved successful in other parts of the country and across Africa.

“This project will have three components which include wildlife and livestock integration, adoption of smart agriculture methods at five irrigation schemes in the area, and building the capacity of smallholder livestock farmers to produce and sell better quality breeds,” said the official.

Mr Maphala said they were expecting members of the community to benefit from job creation, increased revenue streams, improved livestock management, mitigation of the impacts of drought, reduced human-wildlife conflict, and greater value generated from their livestock.

So far, a pilot Livestock Business Centre has been established at Mangwanani Farm which will help farmers get better prices, and provide affordable veterinary drugs and cost-price fodder for drought relief.

He said the business centre (livestock) will also serve as a hub for training and education for the farmers which will be done in partnership with the Department of Veterinary Services and Agritex.

“In the medium term there is potential to further develop the value chain through regenerative certification and expansion to export markets,” he added.

“We are also providing climate-smart irrigation technologies that are helping to maximise the effectiveness of the schemes at River Ranch, Ndambe Phase and Phase 2, Shashe, and Shongwane.

“The tools are meant to optimize irrigation practices, saving time, money and labour and increasing yields”.

Mr Maphala said where the tools were used across Africa, yields increased to 70%, and in many cases, water usage decreased by 50%. @tupeyo 

Article Source: The Chronicle

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