Promoting healthy ecosystems to build resilience to climate change

Stories and experiences of Climate Change

Ragel Hesselman (Niewoudville, South Africa)

Ragel is an owner of a farm called Dobbelaarskop located in the Heiveld, two hours outside of Niewoudville in the Northern Cape. She is also the director of the Heiveld Cooperative, which farms the product of wild rooibos tea (which is certified both organic and fair-trade).

The farm is one of the driest in the region. Between 2003 and 2006 there was a drought. The springs in the area dried up. The closest water source was 14 km away from the farm. Every second day she would have to walk the herd of cattle down the river.

Then in 2008 the drought was broken with good rains. But the soil was unable to absorb the moisture, causing erosion.

She explained: “Small-scale farmers need help in South Africa. We have the local knowledge but we cannot solve it by ourselves. The leaders must listen to us and take action.”

(Testimony presented at the Pan-African Hearing on Climate Change 5th October 2009)

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Posted: 12/7/2009 (4:59:55 AM)

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