What we do
Natural Resource Management
Sustainable Harvesting Programme
Alien Clearing Programme
The Sustainable Harvesting Programme is one leg of our Natural Resource Management Programme (the other is Alien Clearing Programme).
Our mission is to conserve fynbos landscapes, livelihoods and connect people to nature through collaboration, learning and demonstration.
Flower Valley Conservation Trust has adopted a people-centric approach to conservation. We know that people are the biggest influencers of change. And that’s why we approach solutions using people, planet and profit perspectives in our Natural Resource Management work. This holistic approach towards true sustainability makes Flower Valley Conservation Trust unique.
The Sustainable Harvesting Programme
Within the rural areas of the Overberg, opportunities to make a living are fairly limited. Fynbos – especially the harvesting thereof for the cut-flower industry – provides an important job opportunity for people living here.
Harvesters, mostly women from rural communities, head into fynbos landscapes every day to pick wild flowers. These teams most often operate as micro businesses – and they sell their fynbos to larger suppliers, who either export the fynbos (in bouquets), or sell them locally to retailers.
The Programme was established in 2003
A journey of continuous improvement
The programme assists small suppliers (like these micro businesses) through a journey of continuous improvement, where they are assessed against ethical, environmental and industry standards. We provide support to these businesses based on the needs highlighted following the assessment.
– Kirsten Watson
Why is this needed?
Degradation of habitat through poor management practices – like poor wild harvesting practices and fynbos poaching, is a fynbos extinction risk.
Poor compliance to social and labour standards is a recognised threat, as past research shows. That’s why there’s an urgent need to provide support to these small enterprises, to help them sustain their current markets.
The traceability of product, accurate data and verification of good harvesting practices is a challenge for the industry.
And recent research shows that the viability of small flower harvesting businesses is decreasing, even though the market has seen annual increases in value. This not only risks livelihoods; it also increases the risk of over-harvesting.
That’s why our Sustainable Harvesting Programme promotes a sustainable practice for people and nature, custodianship of our natural systems, and opportunities for empowering local communities.
The Overberg is the core focus area for our Natural Resource Management (including our Sustainable Harvesting Programme), although our footprint does extend beyond this boundary.
Our key focus areas in our Sustainable Harvesting Programme are:
- To promote assurance of good practice to demonstrate sustainable resource use.
- To identify opportunities and promote empowerment of local communities within the green economy.
- To engage landowners, partners and agencies in applying best natural resource management practices.
- To promote research and development for mitigating impacts of fynbos harvesting.
- And to raise awareness on challenges and advancements within the industry, and advocate for action and accountability.
How can we help you?
Become a member of the Sustainable Harvesting Programme.
We can support you and your team through an environmental and ethical journey of improvement, to meet market requirements.
Assess the quality of fynbos harvesting on your property (or of your team).
This helps you better see the health of your Fynbos landscapes, and to understand whether harvesting has benefited, or harmed, your veld. Our team can also give guidance to improve harvesting techniques. (This support is in the Overberg)
Manage and monitor your farm or harvesting area.
A specialist mapper can provide GIS solutions to you, to help you improve your natural areas. (This support is available in the Overberg).
Not everyone will be able to visit the fynbos sanctuary of Flower Valley Farm. And see all the action – both in the fynbos and the forest. So as part of our feedback to those who have adopted a hectare on the farm, we’ll bring pockets of the farm into your home instead.
Flower Valley Conservation Trust will join researchers and others involved in fynbos at the Fynbos Forum in July. The Trust will present on the threats to fynbos landscapes and livelihoods created as many in the industry struggle to meet requirements set out in legislation and regulations.
Flower Valley is looking for a Conservation Extension and Applied Research Coordinator. Flower Valley Conservation Trust is a registered Public Benefit Organisation, based on Flower Valley Farm,
The first known isiXhosa fynbos field guide was launched on Friday 20 May at Kirstenbosch. The guide is aimed at supporting fynbos pickers to know which fynbos species can be picked in the veld, and how to pick responsibly.
Fynbos was the star feature at the Europe Day celebrations, held in Pretoria on Monday 9 May. Flower Valley Conservation Trust promoted sustainably-harvested fynbos at the event. The celebrations were attended by the Minister of Agriculture, Senzeni Zokwana and ambassadorial heads based in Pretoria.
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.
A first-of-its-kind Fynbos Field Guide will be launched as part of the International Day of Biodiversity celebrations. Flower Valley Conservation Trust, in collaboration with the Universities of Durham and Newcastle, compiled the guide, which will help harvesters to pick fynbos with care, and to identify fynbos species in the veld.
Twenty fynbos harvesters and invasive alien clearers have been selected to become fynbos champions. The champions then attended a Champion Training Week in November.
Not that much is known about the impacts of harvesting on wild fynbos over the long term. In order to address this challenge, Flower Valley Conservation Trust has set up a Research Working Group to play a key role in answering fynbos-related questions, and to help focus research efforts.
Flower Valley Conservation Trust’s harvesting team has been given the opportunity to become an independent contracting team. This opportunity fits Flower Valley’s empowerment objectives, to encourage and facilitate small businesses in the fynbos industry.
Support our cause
Act today for fynbos
Fynbos faces extreme threats.
Many fynbos species have already gone extinct.
Others literally stand on the brink of extinction.
Act today, to stop the extinction spiral of this truly South African floral heritage.
Fynbos faces extreme threats. Many fynbos species have already gone extinct. Others literally stand on the brink of extinction. Act today, to stop the extinction spiral of this truly South African floral heritage.