Naibunga Conservancy is an area predominantly dedicated to livestock keeping and wildlife conservation. The Conservancy has embarked on a rangelands rehabilitation programme to heal degraded areas.
Opuntia stricta has encroached upon thousands of acres of possible grazing space. Three group ranches - Morupusi, Ilpolei and Munishoi - are extensively infested. Others have colonies of Opuntia, which if not attended will propagate rapidly, causing terrible invasive vegetation.
This plant has become a problematic issue for good land use practices. Huge chunks of land are encroached, and wildlife and livestock, apart from being denied grazing space, are affected by both interactions with and feeding on this cactus. Spines cause severe irritation to the skin and eyes, while internal organs are also badly affected by accumulation of the soft irritating spine in the rumen. This causes meat to be of lower quality and lower market value.
Through consultative stakeholders’ meetings, community and governments officials have focused on how to eradicate the plant. Both national and county government officials have thanked ICCF for its support to manually eradicate the plant and have promised any possible assistance to help hasten the eradication. Communities appreciated and welcomed the support and made assurances that they too will engage positively to see that this is a successful initiative.