Agriculture & Agri-industry
What we do
The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area offers the first solution of its kind to conservation
farming. Traditionally private landowners in the Overberg have made their income from agricultural
activities such as grain and livestock farming - often to the detriment of the natural habitat and
threatened fauna. This situation has been exacerbated by pressure on farming operations, through
aspects such as rising input costs - in turn forcing landowners to use more natural land. It has
become clear that agriculture cannot afford to support land for conservation purposes only.
However, through the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area, this age-old conflict was
tackled. And new ways of ensuring biodiversity conservation could happen effectively on private land
were sought. Farming operations have not been threatened, and food security is unaffected.
However, landowners have changed their farming ways, from traditional methods, to greener,
sustainable operations. This fits with one of our main overarching objectives: to promote
sustainability in all forms of agriculture to be undertaken on the high-potential agricultural land.
Through our Agriculture and Agri-Industry Programme, the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management
Area effectively deals with the co-ordination of common activities and the transfer of 'green'
knowledge. Agriculture products emanating from within the Protected Environment can also be
marketed and branded as such. All the while, farming operations must be monitored and audited to
ensure compliance with the goals of the Special Management Area (SMA), as set out in our
Development Framework and Constitution.
The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA) has also signed a ground-breaking
partnership with the Department of Agriculture. This Memorandum of Cooperation ensures we work
together to achieve our respective goals. Together we strive for responsible and sustainable
conservation farming, the protection of the natural environment and resources, and the
enhancement of the economic, ecological and social wealth of the people of the Western Cape.
According to the memorandum, the alliance allows both to support each other's objectives, and
enhances the long-term sustainable development of the Western Cape.
Traditional farming under pressure
Conservation hasn’t always been important on the Agulhas Plain. Many farmers admitted in a recent
study done by the University of Cape Town that survival is a higher priority for them. Landowners in
the Overberg, who are generally livestock, grain, dairy or in some cases wine farmers, are under
Input costs have risen on average 10 percent a year since 1994, while production prices have not
kept pace. As a result, agriculture simply can’t afford to support areas for conservation only. On the
contrary, in many cases the natural habitat is damaged as more land is used for farming. The SMA
initiative, however, is working to find a balance betweeen conservation and agriculture, so that
landowners make full sustainable use of their land, without affecting production and food security.
The Nuwejaars Wetland SMA is rehabilitating its
key areas and cultural features. More
Our tourism venture will include training for
operators and entrepreneurs. More
Production and food security is enhanced through
sustainable use of land. More
Sustainably-utilised products will prove a key
economic driver for communities here. More
By developing the SMA's infrastructure, we can
unlock the area's sustainable capital. More
Enhancing the wellbeing of all who live here is an
imperative for the SMA. More