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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 524: XXV International Horticultural Congress, Part 14: Horticultural Economics at Micro and Macro Level, International Trade and Marketing, International Cooperative Programs, Relations between Research, Development, Extension and Education

THE SOUTH AFRICAN INDIGENOUS FLOWER INDUSTRY: CHALLENGES AND LIMITATIONS

Authors:   J.H. Coetzee, W.J.H. Eigenhuis, G.M. Littlejohn
Keywords:   Flora Capensis, Fynbos, Indigenous flora, Proteaceae, socio-economic impact
Abstract:
The plant genetic resources of the Cape Floral Kingdom (8600 spp), provide the basis of many international ornamental flowering plants such as Gladiolus, Freesia, Zantedeschia, Gerbera, Sandersonia and Erica. Unfortunately little is done in South Africa to utilize these floral resources, for the economic benefit of the country. The political transformation process through which South Africa is progressing requires the maintenance of a strong economic growth. Agriculture forms 4.4% of the GDP. Promotion of agriculture maintaining the growth curve and providing employment opportunities is important.

A socio-economic impact analysis assessment study completed in 1997 on the contribution of the Proteaceae research program on the indigenous flower industry, indicated that given the estimated rate of return of 8%, for the most conservative base scenario, the Proteaceae research and development program has been socially profitable. The holistic approach to supporting and developing the indigenous flower industry involves research and technology transfer. The Genebank provides the genetic resources for breeding cultivars that are released to the industry with cultivation technology and plant protection protocols. The research is undertaken with international co-operation. Collaborations are maintained with private sector, governmental and international organizations. Strategic planning is involved in finding methods to overcome problems that can negatively influence the industry as a whole. Good knowledge of the full spectrum of the industry is necessary. Utilization of the data obtained from a present survey includes current production and proposed production. These figures will assist in planning research directions and technology transfer requirements.

This holistic approach attempts to ensure that South Africa's role in the international flower industry expands and that South Africa judiciously and economically exploits her natural floriculture resources.

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