Speaking with one voice: the role of small and medium grower’s associations driving change in the South African forest sector
The South African timber industry has been dominated by a few large companies. Meanwhile poor rural people increasingly see tree growing and timber sales as a means of improving their livelihoods. Policy frameworks have begun to recognise this too. Yet emerging South African small tree growers still operate under conditions of economic marginalisation - they have to fight for land rights and fair deals for their products. Individual growers have seen the logic of collective action - with the result that many associations have sprung up to champion members' interests. This report surveys 10 associations with the purpose of understanding what led them to form, how they make decisions, how they share costs and benefits, and what external support would be most appropriate.