Zimbabwe, in conjunction with its development partners (Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the European Union), has launched the Zimbabwe chapter of the Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme (SWMP) in Binga District, Matabeleland North Province, 308km from Victoria Falls.
The conservancy, known as Mucheni Community Conservancy (MCC), is in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA), a biodiversity-rich, functional ecosystem under the management of the Angolan, Botswanan, Namibian, Zambian and Zimbabwean governments and local communities.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Munesu Munodawafa says the project is a huge step in efforts to protect and conserve wildlife and habitats. “I am therefore glad that the SWMP project will promote sustainable exploitation of resilient wildlife populations, as well as alternative livelihoods such as livestock rearing in MCC. Wildlife is the main product for the tourism sector, which is one of the key pillars of our economy, contributing 10% of Zimbabwe’s GDP. These resources are the anchor upon which our environmental and tourism economy hinge.”
MCC will benefit local communities, local non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations, private operators in the eco-tourism and hunting tourism sectors, and biodiversity conservation organisations.
The programme, which is also running in Zambia as Simalaha Community Conservancy in Mwandi and Kazungula Districts in the southern and western provinces, is being financed with $5 million from development partners over a period of five years.