CRAFTERS CAN HARVEST REEDS AGAIN
Juncus Kraussii reeds – also locally known as iNcema – can be harvested once more by local crafters who rely on them for the production of various traditional products, including mats and baskets, which are often sold to tourists to make a living.
The last permitted harvest was in 2019, just prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Harvests are held biannually in order to enable the plants to recover but were cancelled in 2021 as authorities were concerned that a large gathering of harvesters would make it impossible to enforce Covid-19 protocols.
Last week, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife announced that the recovery of the Juncus Kraussii (locally known as iNcema) at Umlalazi Nature Reserve could go ahead again this year.
The Umlalazi Nature Reserve is situated 1 km from the town of Mtunzini on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast. It was established as a protected area in 1948 and is home to the Palmnut Vulture, one of the rarest birds of prey in South Africa.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said that designated areas had been identified for harvesting in the wetlands to ensure that disturbance was restricted to these sites.
The harvest season will open on Monday the 9 May and close on 13 May.
As is the normal practice, the harvesting will be monitored to keep a record of what resources are harvested, the number of harvesters and the quantity of resources removed from the protected area.
The harvesting period does not only benefit the harvesters, but also provides an opportunity for Ezemvelo staff to provide infield training on sustainable resource use and the importance of this Protected Area.
The arrangements for this year’s harvest at the Umlalazi Nature Reserve will permit a controlled number of harvesters. A total number of 600 harvesters will be permitted to visit daily on a first-come-first-served basis. Only 140 harvesters will be allowed to bring their tents and be temporarily accommodated within the Protection Area.
All those who will be camping will have to pay R75 when entering the reserve for a harvest permit. The remaining 460 people will pay a daily harvest fee of R15 on entry.
Harvesters need to secure temporary camping booking with the Umlalazi Nature Reserve Conservation Manager, Mr Trueman Buthelezi, on 083 340 4872 or 076 754 7716. Ezemvelo will provide firewood, water, ablution facilities and cleaning materials on site.