The potential impact of the Cara legislation (for guava as an invader species) on selected disadvantaged communities in KwaZulu-Natal.
The aim of the study was to find benefits derived from the natural propagation and the use of guava plants and fruit by people living in rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal, looking at guava as a source of food, income, medicinal uses, shade, a source of fuel and use for agricultural purposes like fencing; and also assessing Conservation of the Agricultural Resource Act (CARA), Act 43 of 1983 relating to guava plant as invasive species. The Act states that all alien invader species and weeds should be controlled or removed depending on the category. CARA states that plants in category one are declared as alien invasive plants and are not allowed to grow on the land or appear on the water surface. Plants under this category may not be transported or allowed to disperse e.g. Psidium x durbanensis (Durban guava). Category two plants are invader species that have a potential value, plants that are used by the people as a source of income and food. These species can be retained if they grow in special areas demarcated for the purpose (an orchard). If these species are found outside demarcated areas they are to be removed e.g. Psidium guava (guava). Category three species are mostly plants with ornamental value which are not allowed to occur anywhere unless they were already in existence when the regulation came into effect e.g. Psidium guineense (brazillian guava) and Psidium cattleianum (strawberry guava). The study focused on selected areas of KwaZulu-Natal,: Umgungundlovu district municipality (Richmond local municipality) and Uthungulu district municipality. Richmond represented the midlands areas and Uthungulu the coastal areas to reflect two different areas of KwaZulu-Natal. To investigate this study the researcher used telephonic interviews with 23 Extension officials, questionnaires to guide focus group discussions which were conducted with 28 community groups that were involved in guava usage. Informal observation surveys were also carried out with five markets (stall holders) selling guava and guava products. Informal observations in two supermarkets and two home industries were also conducted. The results showed that people in rural areas still use this resource (guava) as a source of fuel (wood), medicine (especially the leaves and bark), fruit for own consumption (either processed or raw) and income generation. The impact of the legislation on rural poor communities is negative as guavas sustain livelihoods and the costs of applying for permits are prohibitive. People are illiterate yet they have to apply for special permits to plant this useful species because the regulation stipulates that guava plants must be controlled if dispersed outside demarcated areas.
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