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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

29 August 2002

South Africa, Australia Partners in Landcare


Sustainable agriculture in South Africa had a boost today with a major Landcare agreement between South Africa and Australia, backed with $A1.2 million (R6.5m) in new funding.

South Africa's Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs, Thoko Didiza and the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, signed the agreement today at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The project will assist South Africa's national and provincial departments of agriculture to implement Landcare projects in disadvantaged rural communities.

Landcare is a community partnership approach to sustainable agriculture initiated by Australian communities in the 1980s to tackle land degradation.

Since work began on this South African project in March 2001, more than 300 people have attended at least 30 training programs designed to improve sustainable agricultural practices.

The Ministers hailed the project as an excellent example of voluntary partnerships that put principles into practice.

"This is a practical outcome of the Summit that will both improve long-term food security and protect South Africa's environment," Dr Kemp said.

"A primary objective of the World Summit on Sustainable Development is to advance sustainable agricultural development," Minister Didiza said. "In South Africa and Australia, that is exactly what Landcare does. This project provides a model for southern Africa."

Dr Kemp announced that in recognition of the strength of the partnership and South Africa's commitment to it, Australia would increase its contribution to the project from $A3.6 million to $A4.8 million (R 26 million). South Africa has committed funding and services from the National and Provincial Departments of Agriculture.

Dr Kemp said the current food crisis in southern Africa demanded urgent action to help the 13 million people estimated to be affected.

"Australia has agreed to provide $A11.5 million through the World Food Program on top of the $A6.5 million already provided," he said. "Australia always plays its part in providing emergency relief. We also hope that partnerships like the one we are announcing today will make rural communities better able to cope with drought and other natural disasters."

Landcare will be the focus of another Type 2 partnership between South Africa and Australia with an international meeting and workshop in Australia in April 2003.

Media contacts:
Dr Peter Poggioli (Dr Kemp): +61412 970063

Commonwealth of Australia