ABI-area highlighted for nature-based opportunities

Business development in the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) area should make the most of regionís tourism potential, particularly through corporate and religious retreats. Thatís the view of students from the John Hopkins University from Baltimore, America, who visited the region at the end of January.

The 14 students are studying the interactions of politics and economics when it comes to access to land in rural South Africa. They were accompanied by the University of Cape Townís Dr Beatrice Conradie. The aim of the trip was for students to see the lessons learnt by ABI since its launch in 2000.

The trip included a stop at Flower Valley Conservation Trust and the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area, two ABI partners.

Lesley Richardson, of the ABI Coordination Unit, said the region was highlighted to the students because of ABIís approach to biodiversity conservation and social development.

ďABI is a community in which partners work together to manage conservation in an integrated way. In order for partners to reach individual targets in conservation and economic upliftment, we need the cooperation of all, from the land users, to the municipalities and everyone working on the land. This is the ABI-way, and serves as a platform where we can all share our information to the benefit of the landscape.Ē

According to the students, ABI partners could use the nature and biodiversity sustainably, to add value to the economy. In particular, value-added fynbos products should be developed further, to promote the regionís rare and special fynbos. This includes products like honey, cosmetic products, soaps and candles.

jon hopkins university students at madres kitchen

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