He says efforts to curb the illegal trade have failed, and the population of South African abalone is declining at a rapid pace. The minister says on average of 2 000 tons of abalone are bagged annually by poachers, 20 times the legal take, he also acknowledged that the abalone sector needed a complete overhaul in terms of fishery management. Zokwana says the department would have to address the issue of poaching by involving various interested parties such as abalone divers, small-scale fishermen, abalone aquaculture farmers, and members of the public. He adds that there is still a need for a complete and impactful approach to better manage the abalone sector, which he adds is under enormous threat. Zokwane says it is very important for the livelihood of fishing communities, the economy and the country at large to look after this industry. He added that the department also had to reconsider the rights allocation in the abalone sector. He said the biggest challenge with the illegal trade was strong market demand, which was exacerbated by high unemployment levels in coastal communities. According to a new report, poachers had stripped South African coastal waters of at least 96 million abalones during the past 18 years.
The Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says since Wednesday they have sold a considerable number of livestock at an auction held at Glen College in Bloemfontein. According to the department, on the first day of the auction, which was mainly targeted at previously disadvantaged individuals, all 42 Bonsmara breeding cows and heifers put on auction were sold. The department added that they are expecting to sell a further 22 Bonsmara oxen and 18 heifers today. MEC Benny Malakoane says the auction is open to every individual or business willing to buy. He says a brand mark certificate is mandatory to be eligible to buy cattle from this auction. He also added that proof of residence, proof of cattle transportation and a minimum of R3000 are required as they will increase functional points needed for registration.
MEC for Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development, Desbo Mohono, is adamant they would continue to work around the clock to empower emerging farmers with the primary aim of reducing poverty in many parts of the North West province. Mohono says in their bid to do that, they would today hand over food implements and livestock for security projects to about 200 families from the four districts in the province. The hand-over will be at Matlwang village, Potchefstroom. She says their main objective with this programme is to encourage communities to get into farming and help to alleviate poverty, and to create employment. Mohono says families will be receiving cattle, sheep, goats, chickens and agricultural implements to be able to start their small businesses. This will be the second hand-over to communities after the first to 200 families in the Bojanala Platinum District earlier this year.
OFM News/Michale Thlakudi