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Game farming
Paul Marais, Vuyo Zitumane, and tourism minister Derek Hanekom
Kirkwood June 26, 2014”: Game farming on marginal land is a “no brainer” in terms of optimal land use says newly-appointed South African minister of tourism Derek Hanekom.

Speaking at the opening of the 13th annual Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees Hanekom said game farming helped promote tourism into the Sundays River Valley and other areas where the environment and land was not suited to intensive livestock farming.

He called on the game farming industry to “collectively do more to change perceptions about the sector.

“Game farming is by far the best land use option in many parts of the country,” he said.

One of the arguments against game farming is that it impacts on food security.

Well-managed game farms produced more protein per hectare than cattle or sheep because the variety of game utilised different types of vegetation, he said.

Game farming – or mixed game and stock farming – also sustained more jobs than traditional stock farming because of the tourism element.

The additional jobs created by tourism also contributed to food security.

People with jobs do not suffer from the same food shortages as those who are unemployed, he pointed out.

Sustainable land use and the growth of the tourism industry also go hand in hand with heritage tourism, a sector with big potential in the Eastern Cape.

Plans for a heritage route through the Zuurberg in the Sundays River Valley are being formulated.

The heritage tourism could be developed around the natural beauty of the area – which is being preserved in part by sustainable game farming.

Community-driven events such as the Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees are also contributing to the growth of tourism, he said.

The festival has grown into one of the biggest in the country.

It is also a festival with a social conscience. Money is ploughed back into the community by the non-profit Kirkwood Wildlife Festival company, he said.

Media release for the Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees
By: Siyathetha Communications
For more information contact Ed Richardson on 083 656 9757