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3. Main constraints to economic growth in your sector?

Agricultural Land and Landscape Dependency

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Agricultural Land and Landscape Dependency

2017/01/18 7:37 PM CAT

The Reality is that we are currently farming in the Paardeberg just south of Malmesbury and the reality is that obviously the agricultural land is coming under various forms of pressure be that urban development or simply mining or just the lack of good caretakers in some instances.

The Paardeberg has in recent years gone through massive change and being situated just South of Malmesbury with parts of it being governed by Drakenstein Municipality and another part of it by the City of Cape Town have made it a complex dominion to control or at large to have an integrated vision for.

In terms of substainable living we have to turn in this region to the core of agriculture and it being one of the best grape growing regions for high quality wine, the respective wineries and cellar doors and guest houses with add ons in terms of wedding venues, it certainly makes for a region that sustainably can generate income nationally in terms of tourists (national & international) visiting the farms be that for wine tasting , hikes , weddings or just a simple break away being very well situated between Riebeek kasteel, Malmesbury, Paarl and Cape Town. And on the other hand a major part of the produce is being exported as high end South African wine generating forex.

Tending vineyards and tourism is a major generator of job opportunities from fairly unschooled to high end expertise and it is sustainable as it involves a 360 day cycle.

But all of this is threatened by low income once of mining that is currently been allowed with not only the destruction of arable agricultural land, but also the destruction of the landscape being one of the most important points of sale in terms of tourism and defending the high end produce when the international traders visit the Paardeberg vineyards and cellars.

The issue on the table is that many of us as producers have heavily invested in this region as it has always been a viticultural region with the co-existance of wine cellars and tourism and landscape that goes in hand. But recently some mining activities have infiltrated the region that has for sure to date turned off a number of investors that have thought to come and set up more wineries and vineyards and have made it difficult for us already existing operations to explain to clients what is going on with our surrounding landscape.

If one was to set up a hotel in the middle of a number of mines and then come to the realisation that it is not working, surely the reverse should also be in that where we have set up this amazing story with vineyards and cellars and tourism, mines should not be granted. I am baffled and would love for this topic to take serious priority in the next number of years in terms of the planning forward.

Many Thanks, Eben Sadie

THE SADIE FAMILY WINES - PAARDEBERG, MALMESBURY

Post a Reply
1. 2017/01/19 1:39 PM CAT

Thanks Eben,

The same issue raised here as under the other topics.

Can I therefore remove this version so all can respond in one place?

Regards

john

2. 2017/01/30 4:37 PM CAT

Fully agree with Eben Sadie's statement above. Here at Lammershoek we have enjoyed some much needed investment over the past few years from over seas investors for the exact reason that they as many others realise the incredible opportunity for eco tourism and the establishment of a potentially very popular and well managed community managed wine route in the area. This remains in my point of view the best possible solution to the current poverty levels in the area and can greatly benefit, farming activities, community initiatives and the protection of our natural resources in an sustainable manner. The very real, very serious mining activities in various areas of the Paardeberg does not only deter investment into the area but also add to the decline of property value for its owners and investors. Just now I had a chat with a German friend of mine who are in the process of buying a property in the Paardeberg area. What do you think he will do if he had to learn today that he might be buying a beautiful peace of agricultural land but might be covered in the dust from the mines and the 10 000 trucks passing his property every day. This topic needs serious attention from those appointed to protect our agricultural farm lands and any one who cares enough for his community, environment and want to leave something worth while for his kids to inherit one day.

Thank you for the opportunity to raise my concerns on behalf of Lammershoek Farms and Winery and its investors.

Regards.

Schalk Opperman

3. 2017/01/30 10:14 PM CAT

Thanks Schalk,

The points seem valid and the trade off between mining and eco-tourism needs to be investigated and managed.

Regards

John

4. 2017/01/31 8:50 AM CAT (edited) by Moderator

1.I base the following comments on the fact that I represent a number of concerned farmers in the service area of Swartland Municipality.

2.It is a fact that in recent times there was an increase in applications to mine sand on farms and even instances of illegal sand mining on certain farms.

3.In my opinion the municipality must adopt a clear and definite policy in dealing with these intended and illegal mining activities that do not carry the approval of concerned land owners in the area. Such policy should make it clear that when considering allowing mining activities on agricultural land, the following must be taken into consideration–

·The establishment of mines could result in undesirable impacts upon agricultural activities that are the major contributors to the local economy.

·Mining in general is not a practicable environmental option for agricultural land. When compared to the past and current use of the land, this option could cause the most damage and will have the least benefits to the environment as a whole, at a cost unacceptable to society, in the short term as well as in the long term.

·Mining could result in unacceptable cumulative impacts. The later could comprise irreversible negative impacts upon the agricultural activities, tourism, the sense of place, sense of history, sense of nature, safety and welfare and the already endangered eco-systems and biodiversity.

·Mining activities in general are in conflict with the natural, historic and agricultural characteristics of the area.

·The potential of agricultural land is, was and will always be to provide food security and to host a sustainable ecosystem.

·Mining activities would not complement or further the unique characteristics of the surrounding area at all. As a matter of fact, it could damage and degrade it beyond the point of no-return.

·There are no real and lasting positive advantages associated with or incidental to mining activities on agricultural land. It is only certain land owners and the mine operators that could benefit financially, if at all.

·There is a very strong public opposition to the envisaged activities from a large number of residents of the area concerned, as well as other interested and affected parties.

·Mining and its objectives should not be in conflict with the following policies, provincial and national-

(i)Retaining existing agricultural activity and soils to ensure agriculture’s key position.

(ii)Ensuring that land with agricultural potential is not mined or otherwise damaged,

(iii)Prevention of the inappropriate conversion of existing agricultural activity and soil with agricultural potential and important cultural and scenic landscapes, to other uses.

(iv)Reserving all land put under the plough including orchards, vineyards, forestry plantations, annual crops, pastures, and irrigation lands reserved for Intensive Agriculture

4.The Swartland municipality has a responsibility to ensure that agricultural land be preserved for future generations. Allowing such activities without proper consideration and explicit guidelines and policies on how to deal with it, shall not serve sustainable development, in that

·mining operations inevitably could lead to the disturbance of ecosystems and loss of biological diversity that cannot be avoided, or, minimised and remedied;

·degradation of the environment could be a direct result of mining operations and cannot be minimised and remedied;

·disturbance of the specific landscapes through mining operations might be irrevocable;

·the use and exploitation of sand as a non-renewable natural resource is irresponsible and inequitable, and does not take into account the consequences of the depletion of the resource. It is only done to satisfy the financial interests of individuals;

·negative impacts on the environment and on people's environmental rights cannot be prevented, minimised or remedied.

·Randomly allowing it shall not have placed people and their needs at the forefront of concern, and shall not serve their physical, psychological, developmental, cultural and social interests equitably;

·Mining activities might not be socially, environmentally and economically sustainable;

·Allowing it could mean total disregard of the interests, needs and values of all interested and affected parties; and

Adv Martin Coetzee

marcec@mweb.co.za

5. 2017/01/31 3:31 PM CAT (edited) by Moderator

There is strong support for Eben's ideas among long-term thinking farmers of the Paardeberg.

This community lives close to nature, with vineyards edging up to the fynbos slopes leaving occasional islands of granite masses, wild olives and wooded mountain gullies to grace our landscape.

Upward from these fringes, Paardeberg has recorded a valuable collection of some 1000 species of plants, of which about 200 are threatened.

This is home to Cape Mountain Leopard, troops of Baboons, Rooikat, Dassie, Duiker, Porcupine, tortoises & various snakes, like Cape Cobra, Boomslang & Adders.

Many raptors from Black Eagle down to various Owls are watched & observed as part of our daily routine, while busy in the fields.

This mountain act as a sponge during the winter rains, which slowly releases a subterranean water supply to the vines during the dry, hot summer down in the valleys, via the rich layers of silt and sand deposited over the thousands of centuries. This is why sand is so important to the existence of sustainable farming in this mountainous region.

Sand is the conveyer of water, the reservoir of reserve moisture as well as the maintainer of capillary action from the depths of the soil.

As Eben mentions, the sand deposits are being mined. This exploitation is short term with a disastrous result for the continuity of maintaining the moisture reserve which arable land with crops depends on.

The subterranean pressure regulator will be taken away for ever. It cannot be replaced & the whole area may be laid dry.

In short, we need a Municipality which is willing to support the existence of this free nature & the people who try to maintain it. There are areas which are being inundated by invasive alien plants. The farmers cannot afford to combat this financially, on their own. There are other additional issues as well.

The pressing issue of sand mining on Paardeberg farms has to be stopped as soon as possible, to prevent further damage to the sustainability of arable farm land and the ground water reserve.

A movement to protect arable agricultural farmland in the Paardeberg has been initiated and once established, will the extent & principles be made known to the Municipality

Barry Schreiber

6. 2017/01/31 3:36 PM CAT (edited) by Moderator

There is strong support for Eben's ideas among long-term thinking farmers of the Paardeberg.

This community lives close to nature, with vineyards edging up to the fynbos slopes leaving occasional islands of granite masses, wild olives and wooded mountain gullies to grace our landscape.

Upward from these fringes, Paardeberg has recorded a valuable collection of some 1000 species of plants, of which about 200 are threatened.

This is home to Cape Mountain Leopard, troops of Baboons, Rooikat, Dassie, Duiker, Porcupine, tortoises & various snakes, like Cape Cobra, Boomslang & Adders.

Many raptors from Black Eagle down to various Owls are watched & observed as part of our daily routine, while busy in the fields.

This mountain act as a sponge during the winter rains, which slowly releases a subterranean water supply to the vines during the dry, hot summer down in the valleys, via the rich layers of silt and sand deposited over the thousands of centuries. This is why sand is so important to the existence of sustainable farming in this mountainous region.

Sand is the conveyer of water, the reservoir of reserve moisture as well as the maintainer of capillary action from the depths of the soil.

As Eben mentions, the sand deposits are being mined. This exploitation is short term with a disastrous result for the continuity of maintaining the moisture reserve which arable land with crops depends on.

The subterranean pressure regulator will be taken away for ever. It cannot be replaced & the whole area may be laid dry.

In short, we need a Municipality which is willing to support the existence of this free nature & the people who try to maintain it. There are areas which are being inundated by invasive alien plants. The farmers cannot afford to combat this financially, on their own. There are other additional issues as well.

The pressing issue of sand mining on Paardeberg farms has to be stopped as soon as possible, to prevent further damage to the sustainability of arable farm land and the ground water reserve.

A movement to protect arable agricultural farmland in the Paardeberg has been initiated and once established, will the extent & principles be made known to the Municipality

7. 2017/01/31 3:43 PM CAT

"A movement to protect arable agricultural farmland in the Paardeberg has been initiated and once established, "

- would you like to use this platform for this group to collaborate? Swartland municipality can provide a profile for this initiative if you wish. It could be private for members only or public as in this case.

8. 2017/01/31 3:44 PM CAT (edited) by Moderator

ByBarry Peter SchreiberC:\DOCUME~1\User\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtml1\01\clip_image004.gif

There is strong support for Eben's ideas among long-term thinking farmers of the Paardeberg.

This community lives close to nature, with vineyards edging up to the fynbos slopes leaving occasional islands of granite masses, wild olives and wooded mountain gullies to grace our landscape.

Upward from these fringes, Paardeberg has recorded a valuable collection of some 1000 species of plants, of which about 200 are threatened.

This is home to Cape Mountain Leopard, troops of Baboons, Rooikat, Dassie, Duiker, Porcupine, tortoises & various snakes, like Cape Cobra, Boomslang & Adders.

Many raptors from Black Eagle down to various Owls are watched & observed as part of our daily routine, while busy in the fields.

This mountain act as a sponge during the winter rains, which slowly releases a subterranean water supply to the vines during the dry, hot summer down in the valleys, via the rich layers of silt and sand deposited over the thousands of centuries. This is why sand is so important to the existence of sustainable farming in this mountainous region.

Sand is the conveyer of water, the reservoir of reserve moisture as well as the maintainer of capillary action from the depths of the soil.

As Eben mentions, the sand deposits are being mined. This exploitation is short term with a disastrous result for the continuity of maintaining the moisture reserve which arable land with crops depends on.

The subterranean pressure regulator will be taken away for ever. It cannot be replaced & the whole area may be laid dry.

In short, we need a Municipality which is willing to support the existence of this free nature & the people who try to maintain it. There are areas which are being inundated by invasive alien plants. The farmers cannot afford to combat this financially, on their own. There are other additional issues as well.

The pressing issue of sand mining on Paardeberg farms has to be stopped as soon as possible, to prevent further damage to the sustainability of arable farm land and the ground water reserve.

A movement to protect arable agricultural farmland in the Paardeberg has been initiated and once established, will the extent & principles be made known to the Municipality

9. 2017/02/21 6:01 PM CAT

https://www.facebook.com/protectthepaardeberg/

10. 2017/02/22 4:21 PM CAT

Noted thanks Eben,

Have you guys had dialogue with the municipal leadership yet?

Regards

John

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