Project Grow​

Since 1983, Project Grow has been empowering and supporting farmers. Starting as a tree-farming scheme aimed at rural subsistence farmers, it's now a successful job creation model that forms the foundation of our corporate social responsibility.

How does Project Grow work?

We provide growers who have land suitable for planting eucalyptus trees with the assistance they need to overcome the entry barriers associated with tree farming. These include:

  • The significant expense of purchasing seedlings and fertiliser and harvesting and transport.
  • The long growing cycle before trees are ready for harvesting.

We do this in the following ways:

Sponsored seedlings

We supply growers with free seedlings grown by our own nurseries. This ensures that they only plant the best available quality genetic material that will deliver the best possible yield.

An interest-free loan

We arrange an interest-free loan that is sufficient to cover all farming input costs, including annual maintenance of the plantations until they are harvested (generally around 8 years). We also assist larger projects with obtaining grant funding for their projects. If applications are unsuccessful, we assist these projects with a loan at a subsidised interest rate.

Technical advice

We employ 21 qualified extension officers and two managers who assist the growers in selecting the most appropriate areas for planting trees.

The extension officers also offer advice and assist in preparing, fertilising and planting. They visit the growers frequently after the trees have been established to provide assistance with weed control and the preparation of fire breaks. If requested, we also participate in growers’ negotiations with contractors (especially harvesting and long-haul transport contractors) to ensure they are treated fairly.

A guaranteed future market

Advances are paid to growers for work carried out during the growing cycle. In addition, a small portion of the anticipated after-harvest profit is paid annually to overcome cash flow constraints associated with the long cycle.

At harvesting time, we buy the timber from the growers and pay them a market-related price less the advance payments they have received in preceding years.

Sappi FAQ's
Want to Know More?
For more information, please send an eMail to
Project Grow's people
Find out more about the people and communities that help participate in and benefit from Project Grow.

Is Project Grow timber certified to independent forest certification management standards?

At the moment small and micro-scale growers are excluded from certification because there is no national FSC®* developed SLIMFS (Small Low Impact Managed Forests) standard available.

Our extension officers work with growers to ensure that their plantings do not affect environmentally sensitive areas and that planted areas are economically sustainable.

We are involved in an FSC-funded small grower research project studying various approaches to obtaining FSC certification for small growers. The objective is to make FSC available to small-scale growers.

Our mills’ and forestry certification details, including FSC®, SFI® and PEFC™, are summarised in the FAQ Our Certifications (see 'Related downloads' on this page).

How is land suitable for afforestation identified?

A site selection check-sheet needs to be completed for each site to ensure that plantings do not take place in environmentally sensitive areas and that planted areas are economically sustainable.