LandCare is a community based and government supported approach to the sustainable management and use of agricultural natural resources.The overall goal of LandCare is to optimise productivity and sustainability of natural resources so as to result in greater productivity, food security, job creation and better quality of life for all.


The vision for the National LandCare Programme (NLP) is to have communities and individuals adopt an ecologically sustainable approach to the management of South Africa’s environment and natural resources, while improving their livelihoods. This means people use the soil, water and vegetation resources in such a manner that their own quality of life is improved and that future generations will also be able to use them to satisfy their needs. This implies that cultivation, livestock grazing and harvesting of natural resources should be managed in such a manner that degradation (such as soil erosion, nutrient loss, loss of components of the vegetation, increased run off of water etc) is curtailed.

To help achieve this, the national Department of Agriculture gives support for natural resource management through the National Landcare Programme. Through this Programme, community groups, Provincial and local governments are encouraged to responsibly manage and conserve the land, vegetation, water and biological diversity in their local area.

Furthermore, the national Department of Agriculture seeks to promote its National policy on Agricultural Land and Resource Management to all spheres of government and other stakeholders by implementing this Programme.

The goal of the National LandCare Programme (NLP) is to develop and implement integrated approaches to natural resource management in South Africa, which are efficient, sustainable, equitable, and consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development. The NLP objectives are to:

Promote partnerships between the communities, the private sector and government in the management of natural resources;
Establish institutional arrangements to develop and implement policies, programs and practices that will encourage the sustainable use of natural resources;
Encourage skill development for sustainable livelihoods;
Encourage opportunities for the development of business enterprises with a sustainable resource management focus;
Enhance the long-term productivity of natural resources.

Themes of the National Landcare Programme

Landcare investment is intended to provide resources and incentives that facilitate the achievement of the NLP objectives through focussing on major themes, WaterCare, SoilCare, VeldCare, JuniorCare, and Small Community Grants.

The investment concentrating on the above themes will be initially targeted at five Provinces, Kwazulu-Natal, the North West Province, the Northern Province, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape. Other Provinces will benefit from the Small Community Grants Theme.

A Provincial Programme Proposal (PPP) will be encouraged from each of these five provinces, focussing on the specific theme identified for the Province.



The Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal and Mpumalanga will work within the theme of Soilcare. This theme will include addressing issues on soil acidity and the reduction in soil fertility caused by the selective removal of fine particles, nutrients and organic matter. This theme will also address issues on soil erosion


The Northern Province will work within the theme of Watercare. This theme will include the major problem of soil loss which has damaged the catchments and hydrological systems by accelerating the siltation of dams used for irrigation, reducing infiltration and lowering the watertables.


The North West Province will work within the theme of Veldcare. This will include the reduction in ground cover of grazing lands, exposing soil to erosion, and deteriorating the species composition relative to the nutritional requirements of the grazing animals. Widespread bush encroachment has reduced the livestock productivity of the veld and this theme should concentrate on addressing these broader degradation issues.


Our children will reap the benefits of our Landcare efforts. Their involvement is an investment that will deliver future benefits. The objectives of Juniorcare are to empower previously disadvantaged young people with regard to training in facilitation and leadership skills. This includes the promotion of food security at home and at schools, awareness in sustainable agriculture, stimulating the formation of youth clubs, and small projects that aim to promote other components of Landcare. Juniorcare addresses the needs of young people, in an integrated way that involves interdisciplinary approaches.

Small Community Grants

This theme improves the ability of resource-poor communities to manage land, water and vegetation in a sustainable and self-reliant manner, through an incentives programme. It includes elements from all other themes already mentioned.

Within the specified theme, each proposal must include a component of the following:

Improving the ability of land users to manage their natural resources in a sustainable and self-reliant manner;
Addressing the causes of environmental and resource degradation, rather than the symptoms;
Promoting long term integrated approaches to local catchment and regional planning;
Demonstrating innovative approaches to natural resource management;
Encouraging the sustainable use of natural resources;
Addressing the needs of former disadvantaged groups
Fostering partnerships amongst different sectors of the rural community including government;
Developing relevant experience, knowledge and skills in the community;
Encouraging socio-economic or business enterprise development that must link to sustainable resource use and environmental repair;
Communicating results to other interested individuals and organisations.
The Provincial Programme Proposal must contribute to the national objectives of sustainable resource management (please refer to the National policy on Agricultural Land and Resource Management, chapter 4 of the national agriculture policy for further information);

These investments and incentives are not intended to substitute for the resource management responsibilities, including research activities, of other levels of government or individuals, but they are intended to catalyse action and on-going commitment to natural resource management.

Funding will not be recommended where proposals unnecessarily duplicate work which is being undertaken elsewhere, or which would be more appropriately funded through other programs.

The participation of communities (Non Government Organisations (NGOs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs), Local Governments, farmer groups), public agencies and interest groups is essential in developing, assessing and implementing this proposal.