Integrated Planning and Management of Land ResourcesFAOCSDUNEP
World Summit on Sustainable Development, South Africa 2002

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Message 34

Subject: Message 34 - Comment by Gerrie Albertse on Message 26 from Bob Ew ing and Message 24 from Ms. Elize Lundal-Magnuson Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2001 15:38:28 +0100 From: RIO10-Moderator To: "'RIO10-L@mailserv.fao.org'" I would like to respond to the comments made by Elize Lundal-Magnuson and Bob Ewing on poverty alleviation and on technology, with reference to my experience in South Africa, over several years. Although we live in a country where we export diamonds, gold, wine, table grapes etc, there are still thousands of people that do not have enough to eat or suffer from malnutrition. Although we do have appropriate technology available and we train people to grow vegetables and fruit using a minimum amount of water or even recycled water, people can not always even afford to buy this equipment. There is a constant urge to grow your own food. People that moved to the large cities are mostly without jobs and in order to survive, they try to grow vegetables. In several of the communities where I work - e.g. Riemvasmaak, Namaqualand, Jacobsdal or Douglas - people were given land, but they still have no equipment, implements, tractors and capital to work their fields in order to produce crops. Although they now have land, they do not have the means to produce crops. It is also my experience that in these communities, it is mostly old people that are involved into agriculture; men and women at the age of 50 to 70 years. Young people are not really interested into agriculture. They are more interested into office jobs and to have a car, than to work in the sun and pray for rain and hope to harvest a crop. My humble opinion is therefore: > Giving land to people is not always the solution to poverty alleviation. This action must be supported by allocation of development capital, extension service and training. > We found at Riemvasmaak, that people were not really interested to farming, but if they had land, they now had the oppertunity to barter or sell their allocated land to other people. Obtaining land was therefore only the means, to obtain money, which they did not previously havd. As Elize said "When people are hungry they only think about food and how to survive." Although this was experienced in three communities we have several successes in certain communities. This can be ascribed to: > Ownership of land, training, funds to develop and a market for their products. This success was at Eksteenskuil where the people produced grapes, a high income crop. Younger farmers are interested into grape production where they can see a success story. Hope this can contribute to your project. Gerrie Albertse, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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