Kathy & Bronwyn: New support for sustainable harvesting

kathyNew support for the Sustainable Harvesting Programme has been secured – through new capacity that has been brought in. Two new positions: a Conservation Extension and Applied Research Coordinator and an Ethical Trade Coordinator have been appointed to assist the rollout of the Programme.

Kathy O’Grady has been appointed as the Ethical Trade Coordinator and Bronwyn Botha takes up the Conservation Extension and Applied Research post. Funding from the European Union and the WWF Nedbank Green Trust will support the positions over the next three years.

Bronwyn has extensive experience working as an extension officer amongst land users. She previously worked for the Wilderness Foundation, in partnership with SANParks, to create a Protected Environment on private land in the Eastern Cape. She has also worked as a conservator and researcher for the Lower Breede River Conservancy, and as a field worker for the Overberg Crane Group.

Kathy has been involved in the non-government development sector for more than 20 years, with emphasis on the sustainable development of people and human rights practice in rural South Africa.  For the past five years, she has worked in the field of ethical trade, mostly within the South African Fresh Fruit Industry.

Both Bronwyn and Kathy will be involved in entrenching the Sustainable Harvesting Programme on the Agulhas Plain – the area where the programme was piloted. The next step will be to roll out the Programme to new harvesting areas across the Cape Floral Kingdom.

The Programme is voluntary, and offers assurance to retailers and consumers that fynbos is picked sustainably, and livelihoods are protected. Fynbos harvesters and producers receive support to adhere to best practice environmental and social and labour principles. The Programme is also setting up a framework to monitor the impacts of harvesting. This includes facilitating the development of an overarching fynbos research strategy with all stakeholders, to help answer key fynbos-related questions.

According to Roger Bailey, Conservation Director at Flower Valley Conservation Trust, both Bronwyn and Kathy bring strong experience to the Programme. “We are in the process of really bedding down the Programme in the Agulhas Plain, before offering it to harvesters in other fynbos harvesting areas. We’re very excited about this new capacity brought into the Programme, and are grateful to our new partners, the European Union and the WWF Nedbank Green Trust, for putting their faith in us.”