Bulb nursery in Nieuwoudtville. © O. Henderson
​Bulb nursery in Nieuwoudtville.
© O. Henderson
GreenChoice producer initiative

The South African cut-flower industry contributes considerably to SA’s economy and employment, particularly in the Western Cape, and has shown significant growth in the past ten years. The country produces half the world’s wild-cut proteas, employing 25,000 people and generating total revenue of approximately R82 million per annum.

The Agulhas Plain in the Western Cape hosts part of the world’s richest biodiversity, including the globally significant Lowland Fynbos on limestone soils, considered endangered and restricted largely to the southern Overberg. One of the key threats to the biodiversity of the Agulhas Plain is unsustainable harvesting of wild flowers, cutting them at a rate that does not allow them to reproduce. In response, the Flower Valley Conservation Trust was formed in 1999, with assistance from Fauna and Flora International and Shell Foundation.

The Sustainable Wild Fynbos Harvesting Program comprises 8 suppliers and 30 597 ha. Land within the Sustainable Wild Fynbos Harvesting Program meets 57 percent (5329 ha) of the national vegetation target for the Vulnerable Agulhas Limestone Fynbos (GreenChoice Biodiversity Baseline, 2010).

In order to prevent future threatened habitat transformation in the 20,000 ha Agulhas Plain, FVCT works with their industry partner, FYNSA, to improve the market positioning of wild harvested fynbos material, using eco/ ethical labelling to add value and gain market access.

The Sustainable Wild Fynbos Harvesting Program has a partnership with Marks and Spencer abroad and Pick ‘n Pay locally. Members are provided with a sustainable harvesting guideline, an Index of Vulnerability of species, a Natural Resource Management Plan and are audited before certification.

A new online database allows Sustainable Wild Fynbos Harvesting Program and suppliers to trace their products and learn about the vulnerability of harvested species Sustainable harvesting courses are held.

WEBSITE: Sustainable Wild Fynbos Harvesting Program