The Seedling Growers Association of South Africa’s (SGASA) certification scheme is based on the Australian Nursery scheme and was fine-tuned in South Africa in early 2000/2001.

by Gareth Chittenden

SGASA certification scheme in South Africa

Worldwide there are many quality management systems in place focusing mainly on safety and environmental issues. The system adopted by SGASA has taken a more hands-on approach concentrating on more seedling specific practices. Some seedling nurseries have found added benefit in having both ISO management systems as well as the SGASA certification scheme. These systems are constantly undergoing changes to improve them and are quite often not compatible with others.

For instance, the FSC system does not allow the use of any Agro-chemicals, yet the SGASA scheme allows for this if properly contained and governed.

Currently the Auditing officer is Kobus Serfontein from QMS Agriscience. Kobus is a trained Plant Pathologist with many years of field experience.

Nurseries in South Africa predominantly grow a range of timber, vegetable and bedding seedlings alongside one another. Section 19 in the certification scheme has been specifically implemented to govern the spread of Fusarium circinatum or Pitch Canker Fungus from seedling nurseries. All nurseries growing Pinus seedlings need to adhere to this section and will fail an audit should they not achieve a minimum of 75% compliance.

Listed below are the 20 sections nurseries are evaluated against. Section 1 has been expanded in detail as an example of the audit criteria.

Section 1: Water quality

Quantity: Is there enough water at your source to supply your nursery 365 days of the year?
Are there back-up systems in place to hold enough water for up to 48 hours?
Is there a generator present to continue watering during a power failure?

Delivery: Is delivery sufficient on the warmest, windiest day of the year?

Treatments: Is the source of water acceptable for irrigating crops? Records need to show if water contains any pathogens that need to be eradicated either by filtration or chlorination.

The PH and EC of the water needs to be monitored and corrected. All treatments need to be recorded and monitored.

Storage: How does a nursery store water? If stored in an earth dam, this water will need to be treated before entering the irrigation system. Generally, concrete reservoirs are used for storing water.

Drainage: All irrigation water needs to drain efficiently away from site. This can be done in the form of drainage canals into settling ponds. It is illegal to contaminate water sources with excessively high nitrates, therefore these must be removed before entering source water again.

  • Section 2: Growing media
  • Section 3: Containers and trays
  • Section 4: Seed store
  • Section 5: Sowing records
  • Section 6: Sowing room
  • Section 7: Germination room
  • Section 8: Plant propagation
  • Section 9: Nurseries growing crops in soil
  • Section 10: Agrochemicals storage and/or use
  • Section 11: Imports from other nurseries
  • Section 12: Dispatch of seedlings
  • Section 13: Product quality
  • Section 14: General aspects and site appearance
  • Section 15: Health and safety compliance
  • Section 16: Admin and financial controls
  • Section 17: Labour relations
  • Section 18: Fusarium circinatum
  • Section 19: Phytophthora capsici

Certified nurseries

  • Brian Law Seedlings
  • CPS Seedlings
  • Ezigro Nursery
  • Karatara MTO Nursery
  • KLF
  • Komatiland Tweefontein Nursery
  • Landorf Nursery
  • Martin Dale Nursery
  • Marlo Kwekery
  • Mondi Forest Mountain Home
  • Mondi Fountains Nursery
  • Mondi Kwambonambi
  • Multiplant
  • Northern Natal Seedlings
  • Nugro Seedlings
  • Parma Nursery
  • Sappi Escarpment Nursery
  • Sappi Ngodwana Nursery
  • Sappi Forests Richmond Nursery
  • Sutherland Seedlings
  • Sunshine Seedlings
  • Top Crop Nursery
  • TWK Landbou
  • York Timbers
  • Zululand Nurseries

Published in February 2010



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