Swaziland — With assistance from the Republic of China on Taiwan, government has started developing strategies to combat the problem of invasive alien species (sandanezwe). Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Clement Dlamini said the evil plants had also impacted negatively on spring water sources. He was speaking during the official opening of Ekufikeni dip tank on Friday. He said the sandanezwe plants had rendered many areas useless and vast areas of arable land where crops and livestock flourished were now heavily infested by these. Dlamini noted that the plants had also affected a lot of edible wild fruits and some were deadly and poisonous to livestock. On another note, the minister urged feedlotters not to give up on feedlotting because it forms an integral part of the countrys beef export to the European Union (EU) market, despite the challenges they were faced with. I am aware that feedlotters are facing serious problems in their business operations. The ever increasing number of costs of animal feed is crippling them so badly that some have even reduced the intake of feeder cattle, said the minister. He appealed to feedlotters to unite and find means of harmonising the prices with all stakeholders of the industry, urging producers, processors, feed millers, distributors, retailers and consumers to convene to discuss this issue. Feedlotters Dlamini said it was high time feedlotters considered establishing their own feed mill as this could be of great advantage in reducing animal feed costs. The minister further discouraged the reckless use of fire, which he noted leads to loss of lives and business. He said in recent years the prevalence of many destructive veld fires did not only destroy grazing velds, but went on to destroy homesteads as well as natural and man made forests. This has greatly affected us as a nation in that millions of emalangeni are lost as our timber industries lose their raw materials. Many families have lost their livelihoods as these industries had no other option but to downsize their staff, added Dlamini. He urged the nation to make sure they follow the steps stated in the Grass Fire Act 44 of 1955 before they start grass fires. I, therefore, urge you all to make sure that the whole country does not suffer because of your reckless use of fire, he said.