DESTEA holds workshop on local wildlife industry

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Nozi Nkoe from DESTEA. PHOTO: NOMAQHAWE MTEBELE

The Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) held a workshop on the wildlife industry at Phillip Saunders Resort today.

The workshop was aimed at educating members of previously disadvantaged groups on wildlife gaming and eco-tourism. “Within the wildlife space we must appreciate that there is a very minimal number of black people. So what we are trying to do is transform the industry into a more diverse one,” said Nozi Nkoe, Acting Deputy Director General of Environmental Affairs.

The group of industry players from around the province was selected by the department through a profiling process. Some were newcomers to the industry while others were experienced farmers. Mpho Molete-Matlenyane (40), who has been a beef farmer since 2013 was excited about the opportunity to learn more about wildlife farming. “I have a passion for farming because there is so much to learn about nature and I am here in particular to know more about gaming as my own farm is suitable for wildlife,” she explained.

Dan Mosia (49), a crop and livestock farmer from Mangaung, expressed that he was glad that local government had taken an interest in promoting and diversifying the wildlife industry. “This is a great opportunity for us to enter the industry with full knowledge of how to run a successful gaming business. We haven’t had this for a long time,” he said.

The group was made up of men and women with an emphasis of youth empowerment as well. According to Nkoe this was the second workshop in a series of which will serve to empower participants and ultimately empower the economy. “Our aim is to peak the wider public’s interest in the lucrative industry that will benefit not just the province but the country at large,” she said.

Participants of the workshop stand a chance to be beneficiaries of game in a departmental programme. The wildlife amounting to 1500 will be distributed to twenty-nine of the participants, six of which will be women. “Donations of game are only part of what we would like to achieve because they need to know learn how to develop sustainable businesses,”

Nomaqhawe Mtebele