Investing in the long-term capacity and success of the local fynbos industry

The participants of Cape Flora’s two day business skills workshop ranged from being industry stalwarts with 25 years experience in the industry, to new entrants with one year under the belt.

The workshop was funded the Post-Harvest Innovation Fund (PHI) and developed and presented by long-time industry player, Wilhelm Rabe. The general lack of basic business skills within the emerging fynbos farmer community was the main driving force behind the inception of this initiative. Under scrutiny it was clear that these farmers were very proficient in farming, but they needed some support to improve their business and administrative skills. The course material will remain an asset for the industry going forward.

Acquiring skills, which support the overall farming business, create a well-rounded industry with the type depth that leaves a legacy and deep, steady footprints for others to follow. It also creates a capacity and willingness for teaching and learning. Many of the workshops’ participants made it clear that they want to apply their new learning to help others in the industry obtain better results and to build strong, long-lasting relationships. This is the beginning of a mentorship mentality – something that is sorely needed across the agricultural sector.

How does one judge the success of a project and whether the decision to fund it was a good choice? In the case of the Cape Flora business skills workshop one should perhaps ask the following: will the investment bear fruit in terms of human capacity development, lead to the betterment of the lives of individuals and communities, as well as attribute to the advancement of the fynbos industry as a whole? It is too soon to answer these questions in a well-researched and formally documented way, but it is also well known that love and passion for something heightens its changes of a successful outcome. If there is one thing each and every one of the 13 workshop participants indicated was their love for the industry and nature as a whole. They are deeply invested in their craft and the natural world that makes it possible. There is a strong will to be learn, be successful and to share.

The participants expressed a desire to remain in contact with one another – with the wish to create a pier support network. Cape Flora will deepen the efficiency of this support structure by being available for guidance after the completion of the course.

Cape Flora’s recommendation is that the workshop expands into all the relevant production areas. This will enable more people to attend, which will in turn increase their contribution to the businesses they are involved in, and ultimately to the success of the fynbos industry as a whole.

Compiled by Michelle Kruger (Bounce Dreaming and Doing)

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