An Evaluation Of Rainforest Alliance (R.F.A) Towards The Sustainable Use And Management Of The Environment At Ratelshoek Tea Estate In Chipinge District Of Manicaland Province, Zimbabwe

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T. Tshuma Doreen
Risiro Joshua
Machoba Lovemore

Abstract

The study evaluated the Rainforest Alliance (R.F.A) towards the sustainable use and management of the environment at Ratelshoek Tea Estate in Chipinge District of Manicaland Province, Zimbabwe. A sample of thirty respondents was systematically selected from a workforce of 181 workers including five managers. Questionnaires, interviews and on-site observations were the main instruments used to collect data. In addition, document analysis was done on the R.F.A policy document. The study established that terrestrial and aquatic natural ecosystems were identified and largely conserved. Wildlife was protected as hunting was prohibited and waste was properly disposed off according to Environmental Management Agency (E.M.A) and R.F.A regulations. However worker welfare needed improvement as remuneration was below minimum legal limit and accommodation very poor. The study recommends that the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, should inspect the seriousness and commitment of Transnational Corporations in the implementation of conservational and development programmes like the R.F.A. in addition, more funding and autonomy should be availed to environmental watchdogs such as E.M.A. to enhance their supervisory role. At the same time, workers salaries should be reviewed as they are far below the poverty datum line in Zimbabwe, except for the managerial posts. Heavy penalties and fines must be instituted against organizations and individuals who cause environmental degradation. Community based awareness programmes should be carried out to educate people on environmental degradation, its impacts and involve them in formulating home-grown solutions appropriate to their localities.

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