• Arxada
  • Bell
  • FSC
  • Hin-Tech Manufacturing
  • John Deere
  • Khulani Timber Industries
  • LESH
  • Loadtech Load Cells
  • Ponsse
  • Rance Timbers
  • Sappi
  • SAWPA
  • SSA
  • UCL Sawmill
  • Wood-Mizer
  • Wuhlf

Post: Empowering Eswatini’s Small-Scale Farmers: FSC’s Journey Towards Sustainable Forestry Certification

Farmers

Empowering Eswatini’s Small-Scale Farmers: FSC’s Journey Towards Sustainable Forestry Certification

In the tranquil landscapes of Eswatini, a nation blessed with rich biodiversity and abundant forests, a group of small-scale farmers quietly tends to their lands. These farmers, though often overlooked, play a pivotal role in the preservation of our planet’s ecosystems whilst alleviating poverty. Their commitment to sustainable forestry practices will be a testament to their stewardship of the land and their dedication to future generations. However, despite their crucial role, these farmers are facing numerous challenges, including limited resources, technical expertise, and access to markets. Recognizing the importance of supporting the small-scale-farmers, Eswatini Government and Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™) will embark on a collaborative journey with the Eswatini government to empower small-scale farmers through FSC Forest management certification.

At the heart of this partnership lies a commitment to navigate the complexities of certification with care and inclusivity. The FSC’s Group Certification Standard and Continuous Improvement Procedure (CIP) will serve as guiding lights, illuminating a path towards certification that will not only be attainable but also sustainable for small-scale farmers. This will help to professionalise the industry whilst achieving poverty alleviation and protecting world’s forest.

Farmers

Within Southern Africa Black wattle (umtholo), Acacia mearnsii an indigenous tree of south-eastern Australia hereafter referred to as wattle, was introduced to Southern Africa through South Africa around 1860s, and systematic plantation establishment began in the early 1900s. Around 1950’s it is estimated that wattle covered 360 000ha leading to development of an extremely competitive tanbark industry. In Swaziland it is assumed that wattle was introduced from South Africa around the 1920’s because of large-scale planting of wattle in the nearby district of Piet Retief. The spread was increased in the 1940’s when there was fuel wood shortage, it is said that the colonial government issued the taxpayers with seedlings to plant around homesteads and to create woodlots. Moreover, more wattle was planted by forestry companies as a fire belt and to supply the then booming nearby wattle-bark-tannin markets in Piet Retief area.

It can thus be said that the introduction of wattle in Swaziland National Lands was initially controlled within the borders of homesteads and plantations with the aim of supplying fuel wood, and the wattle bark tannin market. Recently this is no longer the case, as evident on the last visit spread can be seen on adjacent landscapes, mountains and water courses. Without proper management this can result in a crisis.

Wattle has the capacity to spread outside of the plantation/designated area establishing invasive natural populations in natural ecosystems. This reduces grazing area, indigenous biodiversity and increased water use/stream flow reduction.

According to estimates provided by the Eswatini government there is between 20000ha and 45 000ha of Swazi national land (SNL) is currently covered by wattle. These figures are estimates whilst the Forestry unit of the Department of Tourism and Environmental Affairs is hard at work trying to quantify though digital mapping of the area.

The department believes that through FSC certification they can leverage on professionalising the industry whilst dealing with uncontrolled encroachment and improving biodiversity in addition attaining government goals of poverty eradication can be attained. This conclusion was reached after careful studying of the FSC Forest Management Standard that is crafted in a way that encourages the environmentally sound, socially beneficial and financially prosperous management of world’s forests.

Farmers

The journey towards certification will begin with a comprehensive roadmap, meticulously crafted to meet the unique needs of Eswatini’s small-scale farming community. Through a series of collaborative meetings and knowledge-sharing sessions, farmers will be empowered with the tools and insights needed to navigate the certification process with confidence. These sessions will serve as crucial forums for discussing the requirements of certification, clarifying doubts, and fostering a sense of collective ownership over the journey ahead.

Concurrently, the mapping of farm areas will commence, laying the groundwork for effective project planning and resource allocation. By delineating the boundaries of eligible land for certification, farmers will gain a clearer understanding of the scope of their commitment and the areas where sustainable practices must be upheld. This mapping process will also facilitate discussions around land tenure, ensuring that farmers have secure rights over the land they steward—a foundational aspect of sustainable forestry management.

As the project gains momentum, training will emerge as a cornerstone of empowerment. Extensive programs will be rolled out to ensure that both the project team and farmers are well-versed in the principles of sustainable forestry and FSC standards. These training sessions will delve into topics such as forest management principles, biodiversity conservation, and community engagement, equipping participants with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the intricacies of certification effectively.

Yet, this journey will not be without its challenges. A thorough gap analysis will be conducted to identify areas in need of improvement, prompting swift action and course correction. Internal audit teams will be mobilized to assess compliance with FSC standards, providing valuable insights that strengthen the certification process. Non-conformities will be identified and swiftly addressed, ensuring that the path to certification remains clear and achievable.

Throughout this journey, collaboration and partnership will be the guiding principles. The FSC will work hand in hand with the Eswatini government, local communities, and other stakeholders to create an enabling environment for sustainable forestry management. By fostering dialogue, building capacity, and providing technical support, the FSC will aim to empower small-scale farmers to become champions of sustainable forestry in their communities.

Through this collaborative effort, the FSC and the Eswatini government will be committed to more than just certification; they will be committed to the empowerment and prosperity of Eswatini’s small-scale farmers. Together, they will forge a brighter, greener future—one where the forests that sustain us are cherished and protected for generations to come.

FSC Africa is committed to assisting small landholders to become FSC certified this can be seen by the recent establishment of the Certification portfolio in Africa operations that assists prospective certificate holders with technical support to achieve certification. In addition, FSC has introduced groundbreaking resources such Group scheme standard and Continuous Improvement Procedure  to make easy access for small scale farmers, family forests and small land holdings to achieve certification with simplified process and less costs.  Want to be certified? Please reach out to our office.

Source: FSC

Back to NEWS:
BUSINESS  l  CLIMATE CHANGE  l  CONSTRUCTION  l  EDUCATION  l  ENVIRONMENT  l  FORESTRY ENGINEERING  l  FORESTRY  l  GOVERNMENT  l  INTERNATIONAL  l  LAND  l  RECYCLING l  RESEARCH  l  ROOFING  l  SHORT HAUL  l  SILVICULTURE  l  SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY  l  TRANSPORT  l  TREATMENT  l  TRANSPORT  l  VALUE ADDING

  • Afrequip
  • Latschbacher
  • Alternative Structures Logo
  • Ezigro Seedlings
  • Husqvarna
  • Kwamahlati Training Services
  • Logmech
  • Merensky
  • Mondi
  • Those who grow alone, die alone: why transformation is strategic for the MTO Group
  • NCT
  • Pangolin
  • Patula Risk
  • Sabie Poles
  • SAFCOL
  • Saw Specialists
  • Stihl
  • Sunshine Seedling Services
  • Treated Timber Products
  • TWK
  • WoodBiz Africa
  • Afrequip
  • Latschbacher
  • Alternative Structures Logo
  • Arxada
  • Bell
  • Ezigro Seedlings
  • FSC
  • Hin-Tech Manufacturing
  • Husqvarna
  • John Deere
  • Khulani Timber Industries
  • Kwamahlati Training Services
  • LESH
  • Loadtech Load Cells
  • Logmech
  • Merensky
  • Mondi
  • Those who grow alone, die alone: why transformation is strategic for the MTO Group
  • NCT
  • Pangolin
  • Patula Risk
  • Ponsse
  • Rance Timbers
  • Sabie Poles
  • SAFCOL
  • Sappi
  • Saw Specialists
  • SAWPA
  • SSA
  • Stihl
  • Sunshine Seedling Services
  • Treated Timber Products
  • TWK
  • UCL Sawmill
  • Wood-Mizer
  • WoodBiz Africa
  • Wuhlf

Business Directory Registration Enquiry

We are proud to have been marketing businesses large and small for the past 25 years. As our online business directory is strictly industry related only businesses related to the forestry / timber value chain will be listed.
Your Name(Required)
Once you submit your details we will get in touch with you to advise on the way forward.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

* indicates required

Empowering Eswatini’s Small-Scale Farmers: FSC’s Journey Towards Sustainable Forestry Certification

Contact Form

Name(Required)