Small-scale wattle growers in the Matimatolo area near Greytown in the KZN Midlands have developed their own unique ways of growing and harvesting their trees that is largely sustainable with minimal impacts on the environment. But the irony is that up until now they have been unable to get their small tree plantations certified by the global certification organisations because they have been unable to fulfil the complex administrative requirements and couldn’t afford it anyway.
With international markets increasingly demanding that the products they sell are derived from responsibly managed plantations that have been certified by recognised certification bodies, the market access of these small scale tree farmers is no longer assured. They are also missing out on the premium prices paid for certified timber products.
NTE, a local manufacturer of tannin products that are derived from the bark of wattle trees (Acacia mearnsii), has been working with the local wattle growers to help them improve their yields and to get certified through the newly established SAFAS system. SAFAS is geared specifically to South African conditions and is endorsed by PEFC, one of the globally recognised certification organisations.
This could turn out to be a game-changer for the small scale growers located in remote rural areas like Matimatolo where there is little infrastructure and very few job opportunities.
Watch the video here …