Youth can bring diversity to Limpopo’s biodiversity economy
REVIEW ONLINE / 07 JUNE 2018 -10.13 / THABITHA MAHLANGU
To help transform the bioprospecting industry in Limpopo, the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (Ledet) is set to facilitate programmes to encourage the youth to be part of this sector.
POLOKWANE – The aim of these programmes are to encourage the youth to benefit from Limpopo’s biodiversity as bioprospecting encompasses the search for plant and animal species from which medicinal drugs and other commercially valuable compounds can be obtained.
Biodiversity Manager at Ledet, Tukiso Moeng
Biodiversity has globally been identified as the cornerstone for economic growth and sustainable development.
“Limpopo is endowed with rich natural resources which includes baobab, marula, wild ginger (serokolo) and aloe (sekgopa) among others. The province houses three centres of plant endemism, namely Soutpansberg, Wolkberg and Sekhukhune. Limpopo being a mega-biologically diverse and unique province has posed a challenge to establish mechanisms in which its biodiversity can be sustainably used to contribute towards addressing the vicious cycle of the three economic ills Limpopo are faced with, unemployment, poverty and inequality. These mechanisms will ultimately contribute towards the economic growth of the province,” Tukiso Moeng, Ledet Director of Biodiversity Management, explained.
He added Ledet is taking Limpopo’s biodiversity and endemism into account and aims to conserve and improve the status of natural resources for the benefit of the socio-economic development of the province. One way the department will do this is through bioprospecting.
“Bioprospecting involves the investigation of living things to see how they can be commercially useful to humans. Most of South Africa’s natural products are commercialised and then developed into products which are often sold overseas,” Moeng added.
Having noted the above, Ledet is in the process to develop tools for effective transformation of its biological capital into goods and services for social and economic development. The department recognises the important role government, together with the bioprospecting industry and the community, can play to promote bioprospecting economy growth in the province, and facilitate crucial transformation which will result in plant-based products, job creation, skills transfer, entrepreneurship and market-linkages.
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER