Agriculture & Conservation

Last update: 21 January 2018

Agricultural production in semi-arid landscapes adjacent to protected areas must ensure food security for local communities while adapting to specific constraints.

Climate change models predict increasing frequency of droughts and rainfall variability for southern Africa. The resulting scenario is a darker picture of the food base for people living in these regions, because semi-arid like conditions will spread across the region. A vicious cycle can be imagined whereby people would move away from cropping and invest into more resilient livelihoods like livestock and wildlife. However, increasing livestock numbers increases feed demand outside national parks. This, together with negative climate change impacts of weather, increases congregation of livestock and wildlife on smaller and fewer feed and water resources, thereby increasing competition.

This competition causes further deterioration of resources, increases disease incidences, increases life lose and reduces livelihood. Naturally, people would seek for suitable alternatives and due to incapacitation, they move their animals into national parks, parks officials naturally feel challenges, they react by taking punitive measures on the people and the people react by cutting park fences resulting in increases on subsistence poaching. Gaps created in park fences increases chances for mixing of livestock and wildlife at the human-wildlife interfaces, further increasing diseases incidences, increasing livestock and wildlife deaths, increasing wildlife outside park, reducing peoples livelihoods and increasing poaching. The vicious cycle extends to more regions eroding the food base, livestock resources, wildlife resources and livelihoods.

Such a complex scenario calls for doing business unusual, requires focus on resilience and adaptation as tools for systemic construction of the food - natural resource base, improved conservation of wildlife resources and  reduced vulnerability of livelihoods to ‘climate change’. We focus on assessing and establishing components of resilience and adaptation through co-operation and participatory research, and managing components of resilience and adaptation through establishing value chains and marketing chains owned by people themselves. Research, climate-smart agriculture, value chain development and market system establishment forms our major thrust for development.

Last update: 21 January 2018

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