Wild flowers in South Africa

Investigating the Scale and Structure of the Wild Flower Harvesting Industry in South Africa’s Cape Floristic Region


WWF-SA Table Mountain Fund

Total value of project


Value to Coventry University


Project team

Dr David Bek


Flower Valley Conservation Trust, Cape Flora SA

Duration of project

01/01/2015 - 31/12/2018

Project objectives

This project will:

  • develop a baseline survey of wild flower harvesters and pack houses in South Africa’s Western Cape in order to verify the scale and structure of the industry;
  • investigate levels of engagement with environmental and social ethics codes within wild flower supply chains;
  • guide the policies of marketing, conservation and ethical trade bodies so that the industry can flourish in the future;
  • engage with debates about transparency and governance in buyer-driven global value chains.
  • The Cape Floristic Region (CFR) is the smallest but most ecologically diverse of the world’s floral kingdoms. However, 1805 of species are threatened with extinction and 3296 are of conservation concern. Indigenous fynbos flowers are harvested from the wild and sold into a variety of markets domestically and internationally. However, the wild fynbos industry lags behind other agricultural sectors in South Africa in terms of supply chain transparency. Indeed, the identities and impacts of industry players across the wild fynbos sector are largely unknown and are certainly unquantified. This situation represents a significant challenge for the longer term credibility of the industry.

    This three year project will address these challenges by providing insights into the scale and structure of the wild harvesting industry. This will provide industry leaders with the information to drive changes which will ensure that the industry is economically and environmentally sustainable in the future. From an academic perspective the research will contribute to debates about the transparency and governance of global value chains. Read more information about research on the wild fynbos industry.

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