Soil erosion is a hazard that is adversely affecting agricultural production in the Eastern Cape province. The climatic conditions ad parent material (natural resources) are not conducive for the development of stable soil. This situation is, however, aggravated by amongst other things, poor planning, bad agricultural practices, land tenure, population pressures, overgrazing, etc. Soil reclamation has become one of the Government’s priorities. However, all their attempts have failed. On the other hand the interventions by NGO’s have been successful. This study has found that the most effective way to address the soil reclamation problems and ensure that the soil conservation initiatives are successful and sustainable, is to: 1. Involve the natural resource users (the local community). Community involvement entails the following: -- The community taking ownership and the lead in the initiative -- Where there is a need they must be empowered to make informed decisions. -- For the participation to be effective, there must be technology transfer. -- The immediate beneficiaries must be the active participants. 2. Prevent soil degradation through development of sustainable farming systems for the poor soils. This is a process that needs detailed study of the natural resources as a first step. In this study it was learnt that poor planning as a result of lack of understanding or knowledge of the natural resource of the province, particularly the soil, is one of the key causes of soil erosion. A detailed study of the soils or soil survey of the Eastern Cape has become critically important in order to ensure that planning is based on facts rather than assumptions. This will pave the way for the development of sustainable farming systems. However, without addressing the land tenure system in the Eastern Cape province (communal), by giving ownership of land to the people it becomes difficult to ensure that farmers will invest in the land through soil reclamation and soil conservation practices.
Dissertation (M Inst Agrar (Land-use planning))--University of Pretoria, 2006.