Crocodile farmers believe that there is still a lot more that needs to be done to educate communities about the importance of conserving crocodiles.
Crocodile farming can also play an important role in creating job opportunities.
These are some of the key points that were discussed during the 24th meeting for the Crocodile Specialist Group in Skhukhuza at the Kruger National Park.
Crocodile skins are used to produce luxury products such as bags, wallets and belts.
Those who are involved in this industry believe that it is vital to ensure that the crocodiles are conserved.
Every two years the crocodile specialists and crocodile farmers gather to discuss challenges as well as new research relating to crocodiles.
Lack of transformation in this industry has been identified as one of the key challenges that need to be tackled.
Crocodile Specialist Group National Chairperson, Professor Grahme Webb says they have noted that crocodile conservation is still a major challenge in some countries.
“The biggest challenge in conservation generally in the world is poverty. Some countries are so stacked in poverty that nothing works properly. The health system does not work, the education does not work and you can’t go to a country like that and say come on let’s make the crocodile system work.”
More than 280 delegates from 40 countries attended this year’s Crocodile Specialist Group Meeting.
They comprise of more than 60 countries that are part of the Group.
The Crocodile Farmers Association of Zimbabwe’s Chairperson, Jimmyson Kazangare, says lack of funds is one of the main challenges faced by the emerging crocodile farmers.
Kazangare says, “We also have got guys that are involved in the trade of the crocodile product, the also form part of our association. Basically the major challenges is that it’s a product that needs to be exported and it’s not consumed locally because of its value and Zimbabwe being a land locked country we have to make sure that we have to expert it as far as Europe and Asia and the places are far then for the guys that are starting in the business it’s a problem for them.”
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says much is being done to assist emerging crocodile farmers in the country.
Davies says the South African government would like to see more people from the black communities being involved in crocodile farming.
“We as the DTI, we work in the industrial side but we have been saying that our incentives will now redeemable by people that meets criteria in terms of black economic empowerment. That will be the case here as well so that we will be expecting that there is some enterprise development by bigger companies that the is some co-operation for promoting skills development and that the is cluster approach and the is inclusive emerging farmers as well.”
Davies says they have set aside overR1 billion to support exotic leather cluster.