Pretoria - A R20 million medicinal plant conservation project in Limpopo is expected to advance the need for development, promotion and protection of natural, biological resources in the area.
Launching the project in Maila village, outside Louis Trichardt on Tuesday, Water and Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister, Rejoice Mabudafhasi said the project entails the establishment of a nursery, laboratory, guard house, medicinal plant garden, research centre and fencing of the whole facility.
"These medicinal plants are used to treat ailments such as coughs, headaches, urinary disorder, throat problems, ulcers, wounds, fever, constipation, cancer and high blood pressure," she said.
She said it was important to acknowledge that traditional medicinal practitioners were among the most knowledgeable people about medicinal plants in local communities.
"They have much to offer in identifying local conservation issues and the development of improved systems for managing medicinal plants.
"Conditions for conservation are greatly enhanced when the owners and stewards of medicinal plants receive equitable benefits arising from the use of these resources, and feel that they are properly compensated for the level of effort involved in their contributions," she said.
In 2006, the department embarked on a rigorous process of consulting with municipalities, communities and provincial departments, calling for project proposals within the mandate to be funded through the Social Responsibility Programme of the department.
The Social Responsibility Programme is implemented employing the Extended Public Works Programme principles of alleviating poverty and transferring of skills.
The Maila community proposed the conservation of medicinal plants project.
Mabudafhasi accompanied by the local traditional leader of Ha-Nthabalala, Executive mayor of Vhembe District Municipality, Falaza Mdaka and Makhado mayor, Mavhungu Luruli visited the site identified for the construction of the project.