The Vhembe Biosphere Reserve is happy to be working and assisting a group of 16 women from Tshumisano Women’s cooperative in the Bennde Mutale area who started an agricultural project on a 5 hectare piece of land about 20 years ago where they could try to grow vegetables for their livelihood’s sustenance.
The women’s project failed to grow due to lack of resources in the area and as the community is in a poverty-stricken area. It was not until the VBR came into place to assist the women’s project with a climate-smart agriculture programme through the application of funding from UNDP, Global Environment Fund (GEF) and Small Grant Program (SGP) of which their proposal focused of cultivation and harvesting of chillies as a sustainable cash crop, integrated with a section of using the same chillies for Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) initiative. So the chilli prevention method is to be set up around crop lands to try and deter the damage-causing animals from crossing hence reducing the problems of human-wildlife conflict in the area. The project area is within 500 meters of the fence lines of the Kruger National Park (KNP) and Makuya Nature Reserve. The prevention of crop-raiding elephants will provide critical food security for the area and allow for a wider variety of crops to be grown while at the same time alleviating of poverty during the Covid-19 Global Pandemic and capacitating women in the area.