Khulisa Umnotho | Sappi


    Started in 1983, Khulisa Umnotho is a tree-farming scheme that initially focused on supporting subsistence farmers in South Africa who had access to 1-20ha of land on which to grow trees. When it first started out, there were only three farmers participating, working on 8ha - today there are more than 4,000, working more than 33,000ha of land.

    Where it all happens:

    Sappi Khulisa was started in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, covering the area from Mangusi near Kosi Bay in the north to Port Edward in the South and inland as far as Ixopo and Nongoma. In the 35 years since starting up, Sappi Khulisa has also expanded to include community forestry projects and forestry projects handed to land-reform beneficiaries, with project in the Eastern Cape near the towns of Bizana and Lusikisiki. 

    Creating shared value:

    Sappi has come a long way since the early days when this programme was purely a Corporate Social Investment programme for the company. Today, Sappi Khulisa is creating shared value by focusing on and enhancing the economic and social conditiions of the communities in which it operates, while simultaneously enhancing its own competitiveness. With a significant volume of its timber supply now supplemented by the fibre it sources from the Sappi Khulisa Growers, it is importatnt for Sappi to ensure the continued sustainability and future prosperity of these suppliers. The philosophy is clearly entrenched in the mission statement of Sappi Khulisa, which is: "To provide extension services to Khulisa growers and contractors so as to contribute to their livelihood and profitability from timber, resulting in a sustainable supply for Sappi. 

    How are we doing this?

    • Sappi provides quality seedlings, using site-specific species for best yield. 
    • A qualified team of dedicated Sappi Khulisa foresters provides extension services offering expert advice to growers.
    • With the international demand for its products growing rapidly, Sappi guarantees a secure future market for buying timber from growers at fair, market-related prices. 
    • An interest-free loan is provided to cover all farming input costs, including annual maintenance of the plantations until harvesting.
    • Advances are paid to growers for work carried out throughout the generally 8-10 year growing cycle.
    • Growers' associations are encouraged to increase collaboration between growers, contractors and Sappi, and maximising the opportunities available in the Forestry Value Chain; this means that the importance of developing not only the growers but also the rest of the participants in the value chain (silviculture and harvesting contractors, short haul and long haul transporters, and other support services) are being recognised and included. 
    • Extensive training is offered to these value chain participants, which is aimed at improving technical silviculture and harvesting practices to increase yields and profitability, as well as focusing on improving business acumen, life skills and entrepreneurship. 

    Watch the Sappi Khulisa video 

      Did you know?

      • The total area currently managed under this programme amounts to 33,000ha
      • A 23-member, extension services team supports the growers
      • More than 260 SMME's have been established to support growers, creating more than 1,700 indirect rural jobs through the Sappi Khulisa programme
      • In 2017, Sappi Khulisa provided Sappi with 14,7% (by volume) of its KZN hardwood intake, valued at R362million
      • To date, since the inception of the programme, more than 3 million tons of timber have been delivered to Sappi by Khulisa growers, earning them a total of R1.6billion. 

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