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Land Preservation Critical

The importance of land as an environmental medium cannot be overstated.

Land is the platform upon which every living thing primes its existence on. It brings forth the food we eat, and it provides good foundation for building shelter. It is therefore that land be protected by any means necessary.

The government of Swaziland has recognized the importance and necessity to preserve land, particularly prime arable land.

In the Manzini region there is an area known as Malkerns, this area is well known for its fertile land and the fact that it is well drained. Recognizing that owners of that land may be tempted to increase their profits by developing the area into human settlements, the government declared all of Malkerns a controlled area. What happened practically is that the government identified the less fertile areas and earmarked such for human settlement.  The vast and overwhelming majority of the area of Malkerns is reserved for agricultural purposes, in particular crop farming.

A situation has arisen where owners of a certain piece of land have purported to develop a township on land earmarked for farming purposes. This endeavor was not met with favor by the government of the Kingdom such that litigation proceedings ensued and the matter is still sub judice.

In a nutshell, the argument of the government is that the development of a township on prime arable land would have adverse consequences to food security and land quality preservation. The importance of the case is that it demonstrates the government’s dedication to environmental pursuits, and it re-assures stakeholders that the government does not subscribe to environmental preservation as a window dressing mechanism, but that the government positively implements sound environmental policies.

The Kingdom may well serve as an example for small and developing economies.

Where land is a scarce resource, governments must build the necessary capacity to preserve such land for proper and responsible usage, as Swaziland has done.

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