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Chicken dust business faces bleak future

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By Ackel Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-14-Sep-2009

VENDORS of the popular roadside chicken chunks, popularly known as ‘chicken dust’ face an uphill in business as the country revitalises a law that protects forests.

Minister of Tourism and Environmetnal Affairs Macford Sibandze has ordered the immediate effect of Sections 5, 7 and 19 of the Flora Protection Act No. 5 of 2001. The law says “it is illegal and an offence to pick, pluck and uproot or dig out any indigenous flora for the purpose of commercial gain or export.”

This comes at a time when the roadside chicken business had already proliferated around the country’s peri-urban roads. Otherwise during mass sporting and musical activities the natural gas stoves are used. “The increasing number of fuelwood piles along the public roads and depots in all the regions of the country is evident to this unfortunate state of affair,” says the minister.

The minister said government had in the past been making efforts to create public awareness and train stakeholders on appropriate management of indigenous flora and applicable legislation. Most affected shall be the chicken roasting stands crowding the homesteads near the University of Swaziland, Kwaluseni campus.

The other sections to readjust behaviour are traditional healers who uproot indigenous medicinal plants for purposes of commercial gains. These include those who have already enriched themselves by claiming that they have cures to such ailments as the HIV infection. The country is now working towards banning those who have no grasland savanna, mixed bush and scrub cover most of Swaziland. There is some forest in the highlands. Flora include aloes, orchids, and begonias. Large indigenous mammals include the blue wildebeest, kudu, impala, zebra, waterbuck, and hippopotamus; however, wildlife has become very scarce outside the protected areas. Crocodiles live in the lowland rivers. Bird life is plentiful and includes the European stork, sacred ibis and gray heron.

scientific proof that their concoction can be trusted to save lives.

Swaziland’s Plant Diversity

Knowledge of plant diversity is based on the collection of herbarium specimens from the country. This diversity is, therefore, only known at the species, sub-species or variety level, with little or no information available on intraspecies diversity.

Plant Exploration

Collection of plants from Swaziland was first carried out in 1886 by Ernest E Galpin, soon after the commencement of gold-mining in Barberton, and then in 1890, by a Mr Saltmarshe, who visited the Havelock area. The next collector in Swaziland was Dr Harry Bolus, in 1906, who collected plants in the Mbabane and Mbuluzi River areas. The first Swaziland resident to collect plants systematically was Miss Mabel Stewart, who collected a considerable number of plants in the Hlatikulu area in 1911 and 1912 (Compton, 1976).

The first publication of Swaziland plants in Flora form was Dr Burtt Davy’s Manual of the Flowering Plants and Ferns of the Transvaal with Swaziland, two parts being published in 1926 and 1932, at which point only 217 species were recorded from Swaziland. From this point in time until the fifties, plant collection was carried out by visitors to Swaziland and by residents, both professional and amateur botanists, with collection being carried out much more widely through the country (Compton 1976).

Utilisation of plant genetic resources

Utilisation of plant genetic material to date has been limited, but it includes material collected from Swaziland of a number of species including various Vigna species, being used for plant breeding research by ORSTOM in Niger, Stomatanthes africanus, being used for research into the biological control of Chromolaena odorata by the Department of Agriculture in South Africa, various bulbous plants being used for research into ornamental plants by the Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute in South Africa, and Sorghum landraces used in plant breeding programmes by SADCC/ICRISAT. In addition, small quantities of seed from indigenous tree species have been collected for investigation for woodlots in a rural development programme run by Yonge Nawe, a local non-governmental organisation. (extra information from SNTC)

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