African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6638

Review

Natural fibre plant resources of economic value found in wetlands of Swaziland: A review

P. E. Zwane1*, M. T. Masarirambi2, T. Seyoum1 and B. S. Nkosi3
  1Consumer Sciences Department, University of Swaziland, Swaziland. 2Horticulture Department, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Swaziland, Swaziland. 3Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science University of Swaziland, Swaziland.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 26 October 2010
  •  Published: 18 February 2011

Abstract

 

Indigenous fibre plants found in different geographical wetlands in Swaziland includeCyperus latifolius (likhwane) and Phragmites australis (umhlanga).Various products are made from these plants. Tourists place great value to natural products made from indigenous fibre plants of the wetlands and are often the biggest buyers of these handicrafts.  However, global warming due to climate change is threatening biodiversity of these wetlands and their plants as far as continued survival and contribution to the next generation is concerned. There is need for strong intervention measures biologically and socially in terms of formulation of policy in order to strike a balance between economic gains from these plants and their preservation and promotion of biodiversity. The poor rural, and nowadays poor urban communities, derive a living from these indigenous plants which may if care is not taken be threatened with extinction. There is dearth of documented information pertaining to harvesting practices, plant processing, product making, marketing and economic value of the natural plant resources industry. This paper will document products made from several indigenous plants found in wetlands of Swaziland and ways of preserving the plants and indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) associated with them. These products include mats of various sizes, ranging from sitting mat, sleeping, burial mat, and mats for drying vegetables and baskets for various purposes, examples include winnowing baskets and those for general purposes as carrier packages. Data were sought through content analysis and interviews with key informants in communities that utilize plants of the wetlands.

 

Key words: Natural plant resources, ecological zones, wetlands, products, economic value.