The Market for Fynbos

The wild flower harvesting industry has existed for over 100 years, with dried flowers being exported to Germany as long ago as the nineteenth century. Today about 700 harvesting businesses operate in the Western Cape (Middelman 2012). The fynbos industry is very important because it creates jobs and income for many people.

Flower pickers harvest fynbos from the veld or from flower orchards. They take the fresh flowers to pack-houses where flower packers make them into bouquets. A typical bouquet will have both ‘focal flowers’ such as Proteas, and a number of stems of ‘greens’. Some focal flowers are harvested from the veld, but many are grown in flower orchards where the quality can be controlled more easily.

Some bouquets are sold in South Africa in supermarkets, florist shops and by informal traders. Many bouquets are exported, mainly to Europe. The fresh fynbos industry exports most of the fynbos picked in the veld to Aalsmeer in the Netherlands. There it is sold at flower auctions.

The dried-flower industry is also very important. Significant volumes of dried, bleached or coloured fynbos are exported, especially to Germany.