Fynbos industry in South Africa

A new study in the fynbos industry is aiming to better understand the scale and structure of fynbos harvesting in the wild, including its ethical compliance with environmental, social and economic legislation and best practice.

The study is being driven by Cape Flora South Africa, with Flower Valley Conservation Trust implementing the activities. Funding has been provided by the Table Mountain Fund, an associated Trust of WWF-South Africa.

While the fynbos industry is more than 100 years old, still not much is known today about where harvesting takes place across the wild fynbos landscape, as well as the characteristics of the industry. As such, it has been difficult for the industry body, Cape Flora SA, to provide marketing and other support to wild harvesters.

The study aims to address these gaps in knowledge, including by shedding light on local fynbos supply chains. From this, key marketing information will be integrated into Cape Flora’s marketing strategy to help the wild industry.

It’s also hoped the study will provide more information on the ethical practices employed across the industry. While cost pressures have risen over the years, the price of wild fynbos stems has in general remained relatively stable. This could force harvesters to pick higher yields of fynbos in order to remain viable. Social and environmental compliance could also be impacted as a result.

Information from the study could therefore identify current challenges and opportunities in wild fynbos harvesting. This information could then be used by the industry to pro-actively engage with conservation authorities.

Flower Valley drives an assurance programme, known as the Sustainable Harvesting Programme, which helps landowners and fynbos suppliers ultimately meet environmental best practice standards, as well as social and labour compliance.

With the help of consultants, the Flower Valley team is now interviewing key players in the industry. All information from the study is being treated confidentially.

For more information, contact Kathy O’Grady: Kathy@flowervalley.co.za