Wildflower harvesting on the Agulhas Plain, South Africa: Challenges in a fragmented industry

Thijs Blokker, D. Bek, Tony Binns

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Abstract

South Africa’s Agulhas Plain is home to the Cape Floristic Region (CFR), one of the richest floras in the world and the smallest of earth’s six plant kingdoms. The indigenous fynbos flora is harvested from the wild and is both exported and sold locally. The conservation value of the CFR, and the need to address deeply entrenched socio-economic disparities and high poverty levels have set a challenging context for the wildflower harvesting industry. The strong competition which exists between producers has resulted in fragmentation of the industry and a breakdown in communication. Using data gathered from interviews and meetings with a range of stakeholders the paper argues that the wildflower harvesting industry needs to pull together and improve communication levels to address the challenges collectively. Without such a collective voice, the sustainability of the industry, the CFR and the livelihoods of disadvantaged communities will be affected. The establishment of a ‘Wildflower Harvesting Forum’ is explored as a possible solution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2014-0160
Number of pages7
JournalSouth African Journal of Science
Volume111
Issue number11/12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2015

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Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/za/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.

Keywords

  • Cape Floristic Region
  • sustainability
  • poverty alleviation
  • conservation
  • forum
  • flowers

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