About the Implementing organization
Name: The Zulukama Communal Farming Community
Country: South Africa
Year of establishment: 2012
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Community enterprise or business / Public-private partnership / Indigenous group or organization / Youth group or association
The HLLM methodology initiative is very different to traditional (commercial-style) farming methods - it does not rely on fenced camp areas which are largely non-existent in communal farming areas - and, this has led to immense challenges such as overgrazing by wandering livestock species and consequential damage to the environment (management of livestock was therefore largely impossible). Livestock is herded in mixed species groups which are managed by/accompanied at all times by trained HLLM herders (please see the attached report) who graze animals according to a land plan/maps in "virtual camps" (areas demarcated by using existent topographical features and so forth). Issues such as low impact and humane livestock handling are also prioritized (this results in better economic outcomes also). The methodology is not static and is rather dynamic which teaches practitioners to develop a sense of harmonious understanding of the environment and of how to strategize in respect to any unexpected weather systems which may arise (eg. droughts). Training involves "eco-literacy" which is based on the important issues of healthy soil, healthy grass plants, and abundant water - this allows for the "maximum capture and retention of water" obtained via precipitation via using existent livestock (trampling of bare soil patches etc). This solution has also allowed communal farmers to carry more animals on available land without overgrazing— important for sustainability.
Forests / Mountains / Wetlands / Rivers / Grasslands / Drylands / Wildlife
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Invasive species / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Disaster risk reduction / Peace and security / Health / Climate action
Above sections highlight the immense positive environmental impacts. This said, the initiative has taught farmers how to stop and reverse the devastating effects of overgrazing on the natural environment. Our studies and visits to areas within this jurisdiction and to other communal farming jurisdictions have highlighted massive invasion by woody, unpalatable, and highly invasive plant species which are leading to the destruction of sensitive and important grassland biomes. Soil erosion and consequential pollution of river systems continue unabated also and we are proud to say that the HLLM initiative is stopping and reversing this damage in targeted areas. We also believe that the initiative will start having beneficial impacts on more macro detrimental climate change caused by the reduction of soil cover. Wildlife will also be encouraged to return to areas where their natural food sources have been greatly reduced or totally obliterated. Water conservation is now prioritized.
Sustainable Development Impacts
The entire HLLM initiative has had vast impacts in both environmental and societal spheres. In terms of the environmental sphere the following are impacts: The return and conservation of valuable vegetation types (and the reduction of invasive species), better retention of water in these water-scarce target areas, healthier and more "diverse" soil types, healthier river systems, and the proliferation of wildlife which was forced to leave the region. In the societal/human sphere, the following are positive impacts: better knowledge and education levels leading to sustainability and poverty reduction, a retardation in the urbanization rate within the area which will later favorably impact on urban congestion and governance pressure if up-scaled/replicated, retention of the youth in the important agricultural sector going forward. And, generally, a symbiotic relationship has been created between man and environment. A "commercial mindset" is also being created here.
It is vitally important that this initiative is scaled-up nationally, throughout communal farming areas which we reiterate cover a sizable portion of agricultural land in South Africa— communal farmers will not only be increasingly expected to contribute to national food security but will also need to be effectively equipped with knowledge if expected to play a role in a future commercial farming sector. Without this, the commercial food-producing agricultural sector could be greatly harmed, therefore affecting the citizenry at large. Our initiative works via highly defined introductory and implementation steps (pre-project plans, project implementation plans, etc) and therefore can be relatively easily scaled-up in new areas - we are in fact busy with the introductory phase of this type of initiative in the former Bantustan region of the Transkei. The initiative also enjoys wide stakeholder support and the training is easily understood by beneficiaries.
The former section explains much of this but it suffices to say that the initiative is easily replicated and we have proved this via replication exercises we are presently undertaken within the greater target community (Zulukama) and in a totally new area (St Marks region of the former Transkei Bantustan). As a more macro issue of concern, food security is not only a growing challenge in South Africa but may even be a more pressing issue in other developing scenarios. We, therefore, believe that it is crucial for initiatives like this to be supported by higher governance and institutional levels of society. We can not rely on a future where food handouts replace sustainability and self-support.
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