Increase in Illegal grazing and fencing derails million dollar devil’s claw business
With the just concluded Devil’s Claw harvesting season for this year, harvesters in both the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy and N#a Jaqna Conservancy supplied just over 20 tons of dried Devil’s Claw, generating a direct income of just over N$1 million for about 500 harvesters.
However, while this income is substantial considering that this is one of the only potential sources of income for these communities, the increase in illegal grazing as well as the illegal erection of fences now threaten the income generating opportunities.
The Conservancies aired concern that the illegal grazing and the utilisation of other resources, such as firewood and water, in and around the settlement of Tsumkwe continue to be an issue for many years for the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest.
According to the Conservancies, the number of cattle and other livestock that are being corralled in Tsumkwe has ballooned from 10km radius in August 2017 to a 30 km radius in.
“The long-term potential negative impact of the illegal grazing by cattle, and the illegal fencing of farms on the Devil’s Claw resource, and its potential as an income generating opportunity for harvesters in both Nyae-Nyae and N#a Jaqna is considerable and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency,” the Conservancies noted.
The Conservancies stated that resource management and the sustainable utilisation of these resources is one of the pillars of both of these conservancies and community forests, adding that in both of these areas much attention is paid to making sure that Devil’s Claw is sustainably harvested to ensure that harvesters can continue to benefit in years to come.