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Save lions by growing vegetables


SAVE promotes Smart Agriculture program in Botswana

The SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund, a species conservation foundation based in Wülfrath, Germany, has launched a climate-friendly agricultural development project to promote fruit and vegetable cultivation in Botswana.

The “Climate Smart Agriculture Project” aims to enable people in villages around the Okavango Delta, which are severely affected by climate change, to sustainably secure their food and an income.

At the same time, the project serves the survival of endangered wild animals such as lions, wild dogs or leopards.

Especially around the Okavango Delta, there are numerous conflicts between livestock and wildlife due to excessive cattle ranching. Lions have been shot or poisoned.

The situation was made even more dramatic by the lack of tourists during the pandemic, which caused many poor people to poach.

The Climate Smart Agriculture project thus serves both people and species conservation. Under the program, communities affected by COVID-19 are trained in fruit and vegetable production, which makes them independent of livestock.

They are strengthened and enabled to earn money with their agricultural products and to feed themselves healthily.

Climate Smart Agriculture has now been in existence for over a year, and a total of five individual projects have so far received funding of around 5,000 euros each. These include, for example, a garden in a refuge for orphans at risk. The fruit and vegetables grown in the center’s garden ensure healthy nutrition for the children, and at the same time the project can generate small profits from the sale of the crops. In another village, a community garden for organic farming has been established. Another horticulture project provides healthy nutrition and a small income for women overall.

Growing fruits and vegetables in one of the most wildlife-rich regions on earth doesn’t just mean working the bone-dry soil, building water pipes and containers, and sheltering nets from the scorching sun. Above all, it means building more wildlife-friendly fences around vegetable gardens. If this is neglected, a herd of elephants can wipe out the harvest in one night.

The largest Climate Smart Agriculture project to date, a two-hectare plot that will be farmed by five communities. It is located in a region adjacent to an unfenced wildlife reserve with particularly serious wildlife conflicts.

The Climate Smart Agriculture project is part of SAVE’s Education for Conservation (E4C) program. The aim is to strengthen the local population economically and to involve them in species conservation measures.