Sustainable Tourism | Community Tourism

The Village Tourism Trust is currently engaged in writing proposals covering the following project concepts:

The Development of an Outdoor Adventure & Development Centres for rural schoolchildren

The introduction of ‘Traditional’ farming methods in appropriate rural areas and the establishment of a Traditional Farming Training Centre. Our vision for this is as follows:

  • ‘Traditional’ agriculture, in this sense, is farming based on ‘heritage’ or ‘heirloom’ crops and livestock. There is a worldwide movement amongst many rural communities to bring back plants and animals that are much better suited to local climatic conditions. It may be noted that too many rural agricultural and pastoral activities focus on ‘modern’ animals and crops that have been modified in some way for intensive food production. We believe that there are exciting opportunities to create farming operations where a combination of modern (cash crop) farming and traditional agriculture could be combined;
  • The ‘cash’ crops could include tomatoes, onions, chillies, peppers, garlic and herbs etc., all of which could then be processed on site into higher value jams, chutneys and relishes etc.;
  • As far as the ‘traditional’ agriculture is concerned, we believe that a return to heritage / heirloom crops and animals would contribute in many ways towards better agricultural, horticultural and pastoral practices in rural areas. It would also strengthen the food security situation. In addition, it would attract visitors interested in studying the farming methods and taking home and spreading the lessons learnt. Sales of fresh and processed products from these farming operations would also have ‘curiosity’ value and offer a reason for new flows of visitors to be created;
  • Some other compelling reasons why this ‘traditional’ agriculture would have a high value include the fact that seed banks of more appropriate crops would be created and the natural genetic pool of plants and animals would be preserved. It is also of interest that traditional crops generally have lower input needs; are more nutritious and more resistant to drought, pests and diseases, and are much better adapted to marginal areas;
  • Some examples of the types of crops envisaged include teff, finger millet, pearl millet, African eggplant, Bambara bean (nyimo), cowpea, Egusi (melon), Fonio (the Dogon people refer to this as the ‘Seed of the Universe’), locust beans, marama, moringa tree, the African medlar, the baobab, the Winter thorn (Acacia albida), Ethiopian mustard, cassava and the African potato. In this regard it is of interest to note that ‘finger millet’ (Eleusine coracana) is sacred to the people of Venda and is used for rituals and various food and drinks;
  • In addition to edible crops there are also a wide range of traditional medicinal plants that are in great demand throughout South Africa and these, as well as other appropriate indigenous trees and shrubs, could be cultivated to help meet the need for ‘home-grown’ trees;
  • There are also opportunities to grow plants that yield essential oils that are in high demand by the cosmetics industry;
  • As far as ‘indigenous’ animals are concerned we list some examples of livestock that are regarded as indigenous to South Africa and that could replace modern domestic animals and offer much higher levels of food production and disease resistance. They are: Cattle (Nguni, ‘Royal’ nguni, Afrikaners, Drakensberger); Pigs (Kolbroek & Windsnyer) Sheep (Namaqua Afrikaner, Blinkhaar Afrikaner, Blackhead & Redhead Persians, Nguni, Pedi & Damara); and Poultry (‘Kaalnek’, Venda, Ovambo & Potchefstroom Koekoeks.) 
  • Another bird that is not truly indigenous is the domestic goose that has great potential as a much sought after meat as well as producing goose down.  It is noted that South African imports from the Far East 90% of its goose down requirements that is used for pillows, duvets and other furnishings. It is also noted that the ‘input’ costs for geese are very low and quite acceptable for emerging farmers.