tarted by SAPPI, benefitting more than 10 000 farmers.
Why was it started?
Promoting forestry as a means of creating sustainable livelihoods in rural areas.
How was it done?
Sappi provides sponsored seedlings, an interest-free loan, technical advice and a guaranteed future market. Project Grow helps small farmers overcome the entry barriers associated with tree farming, which include:
The significant expense of purchasing seedlings and fertiliser and harvesting and transport.
The long growing cycle before trees are ready for harvesting. Since its inception in 1983, the Sappi Project Grow now has 2 500 growers and 15 000 hectares under plantations. Over the last 30 years over 10 000 farmers participated in the programme. Over and above the income, other benefits derived from Sappi Project Grow program include:
• Entrepreneurial opportunities;
. More than 100 SMMEs created
• Transfer of skills;
• Integrated development services;
• Access fencing and building material;
• Access to firewood;
• Education opportunities;
• Permanent housing;
• One grower build a community church.
How was it funded?
Sappi has invested more than
R305 million during this period and farmers have received more than R220 million.
Social and Economic Implications
Project Grow makes a meaningful difference in rural subsistence farmers’ and their communities’ lives, by delivering, amongst others, the following benefits:
• Participation in an industry from which growers would otherwise be excluded because of high cost-of-entry barriers;
• Guaranteed market at prevailing market prices;
• Positive cash flow in the form of on-going payments for work done on the land, annual advances on the timber crop;
• Multiplier employment opportunities as growers employ people within their communities to assist in managing their plantation;
• Empowerment of women in rural areas. Woman represent 80% of the workforce. It gives them the opportunity to work from home and perform maternal duties, whilst supplementing household incomes;
• In addition to supplying Sappi with woodﬁbre, growers are able to meet their own fencing, building material and firewood needs;
• Skills transfer and developing entrepreneurial thinking;
• Provides an integrated development service to rural communities, with emphasis on appropriate systems and training to empower individuals and community based institutions to manage their own development initiatives and maximise their potential;
• More than 1 700 indirect rural jobs — 80% women — and more than 100 small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) have been established through Project Grow.
Benefit for Initiator
Sappi buy their timber from the growers.