Most industries have been hard hit by the Coronavirus. But few are feeling those impacts quite as much as the flower industry.
In the EU alone, the total production value of flowers amounts to around R400-billion a year. Now, though, the sector has had to shut down as a result of COVID-19.
In the fynbos sector, those impacted most severely are small businesses who harvest fynbos from natural landscapes daily, and sell what they’ve picked to fynbos packsheds. They’re independent suppliers to the packsheds, and in many instances, won’t be able to claim any wages during the lockdown period.
The Flower Valley Conservation Trust team is now undertaking a survey to find out what the needs are during this time, and how harvesters can be supported.
The survey shows that many of these harvesters are affected by the lockdown, as they aren’t currently receiving wages. The greatest need currently is food parcels. Many also didn’t know where to turn to request help, and the few who have been able to apply for assistance from various sources, have not yet received support.
Flower Valley Conservation Trust is now working to connect these harvesters with humanitarian relief programmes in operation in the district. The focus is currently on 40 families that are most in need during this time.
It’s hoped that the sector will be able to see some form of recovery once lockdown is lifted. Traditionally the industry peaks between July and October. Flower exports may have resumed by then, although it’s too early to be sure of this.
Flower Valley is working closely with the Newcastle University in this survey. The university has provided funding to train harvesters to pick fynbos as per the Sustainable Harvesting principles in the past. Currently their ongoing support is allowing us to ascertain the needs of harvesters, and facilitate support.
Flower Valley Conservation Trust
Natural Resource Management: Sustainable Harvesting Programme
When fynbos is picked sustainably, you not only protect the fynbos kingdom for future generations, you also protect the livelihoods of those who harvest it.
For 17 years, Lesley Richardson has guided and led Flower Valley Conservation Trust as the Trust’s Executive Director, and in the past two years, as Fundraising and Partnership Development Manager.
The Pincushion Hill hiking trail is beautiful every day of the year. The trail is especially striking during the months of October and November, when the Leucospermum cordifolium and Leucospermum
The Wonky Hill Trail starts on the Flower Valley amphitheatre, just behind the farmstead beyond the dam.The trail has the same starting
Most of these wonderful aromas can be experienced on a hike through our fynbos. So if you head to Flower Valley Farm now, here’s what’s likely to light up your sense of smell.
When we saw that an intact pristine fynbos farm was threatened by potential agricultural expansion 21 years ago – you, our donors, stepped in to help. This purchase with the help of Fauna and Flora International, saw the birth of Flower Valley Conservation Trust.
At the height of the lockdown during the past four months, Flower Valley Conservation Trust had to react swiftly. At the time, the spotlight fell almost exclusively on the latter half of our vision: for life and livelihoods (our vision is: A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods).
Over the past two years, 138 fynbos harvesters received training in how to harvest fynbos sustainably. They were trained in their own home language (Afrikaans, isiXhosa and English).
“The response we received to our call for donations, was heartwarming and enabled us to meet the overwhelming need in these communities.”