One of our main functions is to ensure that the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (Act 43 of 1983) is executed. Regulations under this Act allow public funds to be used as subsidies to land users for the erection of soil conservation works.
These works can be divided into 4 major groups, namely:
- Drainage works
- Protection works
- Veld utilisation works
- Flood repair works
As a first step, a farm planning is drawn up by the land user and the LandCare officer, reflecting present and proposed works. These works are then planned, designed and inspected by officers of this division in the execution of the Act.
These works are usually expensive mechanical works and can cost the land user more than the subsidy he receives to erect the structure. Due to the present weak economical position of most land users, there has been a decrease in the number of structures constructed.
A recommendation would be to increase the subsidy offered to land users and thereby increasing the number of conservation works constructed.
These works have a direct influence on the lucrative deciduous fruit export market, in that the high potential soils have to be drained to prevent water logging. This is arguably the area in which our sub programme has the best expertise.
These works are aimed at controlling the flow of water in such a manner that it doesn’t erode the soil resource.
These works enable the soil user to utilise the veld without degrading the resource, while also enhancing production.
These works enable the land user to repair the damage caused by floods, for example the flood in the Karoo in 2001.
The sub programme: LandCare Services is currently active in 20 communities in the Western Cape. We are erecting farming infrastructure to allow land users to utilise the resources at their disposal in a sustainable manner.
Funding comes from the Western Cape Government's budget and the National Landcare project. These projects are time-consuming due to the intensive extension required to plan and execute projects with previously disadvantaged communities. One pressing need in respect to these projects is having enough personnel to render agricultural extension services to new farmers.
- Junior LandCare camps
Areawide projects involve pro-active ways of preventing the extensive degradation of the natural resources; it is a process that enables communities to craft their “future desired condition” and then implement projects to reach this sustainable objective.
The sub programme: LandCare Services has been active in similar projects in the past, for example the conservation farming project, which focuses on preventing erosion and increasing the efficiency of resource use. This new method of resource use has been a great success and has numerous conservation and economical benefits.
In future, more emphasis will be placed on similar projects to strive for a greater impact on the conservation of the natural resources with the limited financial and human resources available to this sub programme. These projects will involve various government departments and non-government institutions which have been approached to assist us with an integrated approach to resource conservation.
The updating (mapping) of present land use will form the foundation of the project, from which the various participants, including the land users, will plan and map future land use. This cooperative style of planning will take into consideration the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) of the specific community, which should be available within this year.
The projects that arise from this planning could be similar to the above-mentioned fields, with the difference being the funding source, which would come from the local authority.