Government identifies land for previously disadvantaged

THE Department of Environmental Affairs and stakeholder within the environmental sector are identifying 10 million hectares of suitable land for previously disadvantaged individuals and communities to participate as owners of sustainable wildlife-based business ventures.

“Support programmes such as infrastructural development (game fence, ecotourism facilities etc), game donation/loaning, skills development and training, access to markets and funding will be facilitated to ensure sustainable businesses,” the deputy minister of Environmental Affairs, Barbara Thompson, said.

“To give you some perspective of the enormous potential of the South African wildlife sector, I have been informed that the sector currently employs approximately 100 000 people across the value chain,” Deputy Minister Thompson said.

The sector’s value chain is centred on game and wildlife farming/ranching activities that relate to the stocking, trading, breeding and hunting of game, and all the services and goods required to support this value chain.

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The key drivers of this value chain include domestic hunters, international hunters and a growing retail market demand for wildlife products.

“It is believed that the domestic hunting market was approximately R6.4 billion, while the international hunting market was approximately R1.4 billion in 2013. In addition to hunting, game farmers can generate income from the sale of game meat, wildlife products and live game,” she said.

Thompson said the sector also has little domestic and international market multiplier effect and the job creation characteristics of the tourism industry, making it a sector with large economic transformation potential.

“Unfortunately, the structural inequalities characterising our economy has placed several barriers, including insufficient access, ownership and inefficient utilisation of land and lack of infrastructure development support for entrepreneurs on black South Africans,” she said.

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