|Updates from PAMSA
South African paper industry responds to Covid-19 with agility and compassion
PAMSA is immensely proud of the sector it represents and how its member companies have responded to the needs of its employees and the communities they serve. “Responding with agility and compassion is what we do best and it’s why our sector often shows resilience in the toughest times,” says Jane Molony, executive director of PAMSA.
“We wish to extend our thanks to each and every industry employee who has gone above and beyond, while trying to balance a new way of working and living.”
PAMSA compiled an ‘anthology’ of how its members worked within and beyond its fences to support Covid-19 efforts.
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Sappi Southern Africa’s beekeeping project is ‘a hive of activity’
Above left: Isaac Buthelezi with his bean field in the background; top right, Petritia Hlatswayo at one of her hives and, bottom right, young Nkazi Sibaya looks forward to her fresh orange
A Sappi-sponsored beekeeping programme, which helps communities adjacent to forestry plantations to become beekeepers, has shown some unexpectedly encouraging results during the pandemic. Programme facilitators were struck by the incredible resilience demonstrated by the families that have been part of this beekeeping project. Collectively, since the beginning of 2020, the participating families have harvested about five tonnes of honey, earning close to R360 000 ($24 000), despite the national lockdown in April and May 2020.
During a survey undertaken in the Sokhulu community in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, where the project has been running for a few years and a new community in Thembalethu, Mpumalanga where training had not yet begun, there were some marked differences in people’s approach to the situation brought about by the international health crisis. Families in Thembalethu were watching TV and waiting for government food parcels, while the 100 families interviewed in Sokhulu were producing and even selling vegetables, chickens, eggs and honey. All 100 families were producing honey, 85 were growing vegetables, 27 were producing eggs and 39 were producing chickens for meat.
The beekeeping project is based on Sappi’s overall philosophy of supporting ABCD – Asset Based Community Development. Most of the beekeeping families are part of Sappi Khulisa supplier programme and are already part of the valuable forestry supply chain. By learning to harvest honey, grow vegetables and produce poultry and eggs they are not just producing food to feed their own families, but many of them are also supplementing their income from timber by selling this produce.
Farming for the future – Mondi Zimele’s Food Security Programme transforms landscapes and lives
Mondi Zimele, the small business development arm of Mondi Ltd in South Africa, provides equity, loans and business development support to employment-creating small businesses within the Mondi value chain and surrounding communities.
Its grassroots food security and agricultural development programme assists communities in establishing and improving small farms in and around Mondi and SiyaQhubeka forestry areas in Zululand. Nine co-operatives and three individual farmers are currently enrolled in the programme, which benefits over 2 100 households across the region.
“Employment opportunities in rural areas are challenging and due to Covid-19, the situation has worsened,” explains Nelly Ndlovu, CEO of Mondi Zimele.“Food security is a top priority within our communities and we recognised that we need to help our communities optimise what they have at their disposal, which is fertile land,” she said.
“The first aim is subsistence,” says Ndlovu, “but we are identifying those with the potential to upscale their farms to small businesses. We provide basic agricultural and business training. We also work closely with Mondi and SiyaQhubeka Forests to improve infrastructure, where possible, and look to leverage government and development agency support.”
Mondi Zimele appointed a full-time agricultural extension officer, Tholinhlanhla Dindi, to assist people in establishing, maintaining and improving their small farms, and the company connects farmers with markets for the sale of excess produce.
“This landscape is excellent for farming and farms can produce from January to December,” says Tholinhlanhla, adding that farmers can supply in the off-season, which puts them in a good position for the market. Rainfall is sufficient and the soil quality is good.
The programme’s success is evident in the empowerment of women and youth. The end goal is to create sustainable livelihoods with growth potential, resulting in both social and economic mobility.
A total of 87 hectares of land, of which 67 hectares is a groundnut-intercropping project at Mondi’s forest plantation in Umfolozi, are currently part of the programme and 237 members are working on these projects.
Twinsaver tackles hand and face hygiene with fun TikTok campaign
From keeping our hands clean to doing the elbow greeting instead of hugs and handshakes, face and hand hygiene has been top of mind for many people. South African tissue and hygiene products manufacturer, Twinsaver, has tackled the topic in an entertaining way with a song and video to educate kids.
Twinsaver launched a TikTok campaign where kids with the assistance of their parents are invited to dance or sing along to the Twinsaver Blow & Throw song and stand a chance to win exciting prizes.
Sappi achieves first international PEFC forest certification in South Africa
Sappi is proud to announce that it has achieved the first PEFC-endorsed Sustainable African Forest Assurance Scheme (SAFAS) certification in South Africa. This after years of collaboration and dedicated commitment in setting new forest certification standards for the country and despite the unforeseen obstacles created by the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown restrictions.
The SAFAS project has been a successful collaboration between Sappi and a number of South African forestry organisations who saw the need to develop a local certification standard with international recognition, which was achieved through the endorsement by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Starting in 2015 with the establishment of SAFAS, the journey entailed the development of a Forest Management Standard, the development of certification requirements and, in 2018, the endorsement of the standard and certification procedures. A certification tool was developed by the team to assess plantations, based on several factors including environmental, social and economic conditions specific to South Africa.
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Forestry South Africa publishes second issue of Timber Industry Presents… Magazine
Timber Industry Presents… Magazine, TIP-Mag for short, was pioneered by Forestry South Africa’s Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group (TIPWG) in 2020. It provides a platform for researchers and forestry students alike to share their research findings which may otherwise remain unpublished.
As a knowledge transfer tool, TIP-Mag showcases the first-class research and scientific thinking within the forestry sector to a broader audience by presenting the scientific content in an interesting, accessible and easy-to-digest fashion.
“The first issue of TIP-Mag has proven its potential as a knowledge transfer tool, providing a much-needed platform for the publication of important research. The second issue builds on this, advancing the magazine’s scope and reach.” – Dr Ronald Heath, FSA Director: Research and Protection
This issue’s headline articles include:
- Genetic breakthrough: a new DNA marker resource for genome-assisted breeding of pine trees.
- A new perspective on pesticides: The revised FSC Pesticide Policy means new rules for foresters to follow but will it change the way they think?
- The enemy of my enemy is my friend! Using natural enemies of insect pests for their management is an old and generally well-known approach. But is this approach still valuable within the current and future plantation forestry landscape?
Link to TIP-Mag: https://www.forestrysouthafrica.co.za/tip-mag/
South African forestry celebrates Arbor Week during October
Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 restrictions, members of South Africa’s forestry community still did their bit to celebrate Arbor week. Each company found their own way to celebrate such as introducing learners to planted forests and the indigenous forests they conserve, planting new indigenous trees, restoring parkland and initiating conservation projects.
Read more about each project at their respective links:
An unstoppable force: when women unite
“What has been true for many decades is now a myth: the forestry sector is not a man’s world!” – Khosi Mavimbela, executive director of the Forest Sector Charter Council (FSCC)
More women are choosing careers that were traditionally reserved for men, and that includes those in the foresty sector. Women CEOs, CFOs, COOs, senior managers, heads of research groups and policymakers are all holding their own, along with those who excel in physically demanding roles like fire protection and the operation of heavy machinery.
Gender, physicality and stereotyping, it seems, no longer carry any weight when it comes to forestry careers while the industry itself has benefited by embracing the varying skillsets and qualities brought by women.
“Despite all this, the stereotype of the bearded forester lives on in the minds of many outside the sector and this is something that needs to be addressed,” says Forestry South Africa (FSA) communications consultant Dr Katy Johnson.
In August 2019, FSA celebrated Women’s Month by profiling 25 women who are carving out a name for themselves in the industry. The idea was to showcase their success as a way of encouraging others to follow suit.
A rousing success on several fronts, the event exposed many of the gender-based challenges that exist while shedding light on how to break down these barriers going forward. Its most lasting impact has been the implementation of the She is Forestry SA Association, currently in the process of being registered as a non-profit.
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