Flower Valley Conservation Trust
Located on the Agulhas Plain, north-east of Gansbaai in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, Flower Valley farm lies in the heart of the spectacular Cape Floral Region and is home to the Flower Valley Conservation Trust. As the name suggests, the trust has as its goal the conservation of the indigenous fynbos endemic to this region, while at the same time empowering local communities by promoting profitable utilization of natural resources by means of sustainable practices.
Flower Valley Farm was bought in 1999 with funds provided by Fauna & Flora, an NGO based in the UK, and the Flower Valley Conservation Trust was established. Ever mindful of the need to conserve the natural resources of this beautiful region of the Western Cape, while at the same time balancing the social and economic needs of local communities, the trust has focused on ways of improving the methods used to harvest wild fynbos and increase the demand for the wild flower business through appropriate marketing strategies. Partnering with CapeNature, the provincial authority responsible for issuing licenses for the harvesting and sale of fynbos, the Flower Valley Conservation Trust has put a number of systems in place which are proving to be beneficial. These include a Code of Practice for harvesting, as well as centralized mapping of data of harvested wild flowers. The Trust’s Accredited Supply Forum – suppliers who abide by the Code of Practice and have been approved by the Trust and CapeNature – meet on a monthly basis for discussions and are subject to harvesting audits and spot checks to ensure compliancy with the Code. Moreover, in 2008 the Protea Producers of SA (PPSA) made changes to its constitution to include members who are primarily wild fynbos harvesters, providing an additional measure of structure to developing the industry.
The Trust is in its 10th year of activity and has been enjoying some pleasing results, not only in the provision of meaningful employment in the Agulhas Plain region, but also in its many projects aimed at childhood development and encouraging the younger generation to have an appreciation and respect for the unique environment they live in. Wild flora harvesting has been a means of income for local communities for generations. With the backing of the Flower Valley Conservation Trust and its partners, local communities can look forward to reaping nature’s generous bounty for generations to come.