Earlier today, the Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, visited the Western Cape Department of Agriculture's (WCDoA) alien clearing project at Zonquasdrift located downstream of the Berg River in the Drakenstein Municipality, Cape Winelands.
According to the Minister, protecting, maintaining, and restoring the Province's ecological infrastructure is a critical part of the work done by the WCDoA.
Minister Meyer: "Firstly, removal of invasive alien plants (IAP's) that use excessive amounts of water will increase water available to the agricultural, domestic and industrial sectors respectively. Secondly, the overgrown invasive alien plants in the river stream cause serious soil erosion that increases water turbidity and water quality. Thirdly, invasive alien plants out-compete indigenous vegetation. Thus their removal will directly impact the ecological infrastructure, which contributes to healthy and functioning ecosystems.”
Ashia Petersen, Director for Sustainable Resource Use and Management, highlights that we must protect the Berg River's ecological infrastructure.
Petersen: "Invasive alien plants impact negatively on agricultural production. In particular, the availability of a scarce resource such as water is further compromised.
IAP's instream causes obstruction and divergence of the river that cause the erosion of productive agricultural land. ".
Contractor and National Landcare winner as the best contractor in 2018, Linda Jansen, employs four teams consisting of 52 people removes alien vegetation along with parts of the Berg River.
Jansen: "With the support of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture's Landcare Programme, I can contribute to reversing the damage caused to our ecological infrastructure. I am blessed that I can create jobs that support 240 households in the Tulbagh area".
"The clearing of IAP's also contribute to job creation, restoring dignity in rural towns that have high levels of unemployment. The WCDOA's alien clearing projects have created 1000 jobs and rehabilitated 15 000 hectares of agricultural land in the last year," concludes Meyer.
Alien trees along the Berg River
Anthony Beukes, Linda Jansen, Cleo Davids and Minister Meyer
Freddie Blaauw and Isaac Lakay
Minister Meyer watching Anthony Beukes cutting down a Eucalyptus tree
Spokesperson for Minister Ivan Meyer
Tel: 079 990 4231