Sustainable fynbos harvesting introduced to Chelsea Flower Show

News Update: South African Fynbos wins gold medal at Chelsea Flower Show

Wednesday 25 May 2011 – It has just been announced the South African exhibit, featuring fynbos, has been awarded a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show. The South African entry showed off local plants and fynbos, picked according to the Sustainable Harvesting Programme on the Agulhas Plain. This is the 31st gold won by South Africa at the show.

According to Frieda Lloyd, Flower Valley Conservation Trust’s marketing manager who was at the event, the gold medal highlights the increasing emphasis consumers are placing on sustainability. “This is a crucial moment for the Sustainable Harvesting Programme, and we’re thrilled to be part of the winning exhibition.”


Tuesday 24 May 2011 – Fauna & Flora International and our on-ground partner, the Flower Valley Conservation Trust, are working to protect the fynbos in the southern-most tip of South Africa. Together we continue to develop and extend a financially and ecologically sustainable programme of conservation based on the marketing of wild fynbos flowers (translated directly as ‘fine bush’) around the world, including Marks & Spencer in the UK and Pick & Pay supermarket in South Africa.

Demand for South Africa’s unique fynbos – found only within the Cape Floristic Region in South Africa – is at an all-time high. Not all fynbos is picked sustainably however, which in the long term will threaten jobs dependent on harvesting of the wild flowers.

To counter this, Flower Valley Conservation Trust, in conjunction with the industry and South African government departments (including CapeNature), set up the Sustainable Harvesting Code of Best Practice. The Code is now being featured for the first time at the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show. Fynbos picked according to the Code makes up a section of the Kirstenbosch fynbos display at the show.

Flower Valley Conservation Trust and six other suppliers are field testing this Code, and monitoring the results on the land and on jobs. A study completed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) last year found that full-time employment has doubled under the sustainable harvesting programme, and payments to flower pickers increased six-fold since the programme’s inception.

To illustrate its support for the programme, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Western Cape has invited the fynbos exporter, Fynsa, to attend the Chelsea Flower Show. Fynsa buys in fynbos picked according to the Code of Best Practice, and produces bouquets to order for international stores. Dorah Siduka, Production Supervisor at Fynsa, will be involved in sustainable harvesting negotiations at the show, which could lead to increased market opportunities for sustainably harvested fynbos bouquets. By boosting export opportunities, the industry can create further jobs and allow emerging farmers better access to markets for fynbos.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 24 – 28 May – visit on Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 to see the fynbos.