Somkhanda is a community-owned game reserve located near Mkhuze in northern KZN. It falls within the Maputuland – Pondoland – Albany Global Biodiversity Hotspot and is home to a number of priority species, such as rhino, elephant and wild dog.
ACT’s Applied Ecology Unit (AEU) has been engaging with the communities living on the outskirts of the Reserve in the Mkhuze River Conservation Project. These communities play a crucial role in the maintenance of their surrounding environment, and depend largely on their surrounding natural resources for survival.
With funding provided by the German Federal Foreign Office, 16 rural farmers from these communities received accredited conservation agriculture training and were provided with equipment and materials to develop food gardens.
Conservation agriculture techniques have proven to be more resilient to changing climate conditions and increase agricultural yields. These methods also help to protect the environment by conserving water, protecting the soil and natural ecosystems, and using environmentally friendly techniques such as natural pesticide and fertilisers.
The project, therefore, is improving food security among the communities, while supporting the environmental integrity of the region.