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
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