A sign and panoramo of a nature reserve in South Africa

Addressing climate-related risks in a key sourcing area for fruit

South Africa is a major production area for the fruit that we consume in the UK.

Around 20% of the UK’s citrus fruit and grapes are sourced from this country, and it is a leading source of other fruit categories, such as apples and stone fruit.

Our Water Roadmap projects, led by WWF South Africa, focus on three key fruit-growing areas in the Western Cape: Koue Bokkeveld, Groenlandberg and the Hex river. All have been affected by drought in recent years, which has in turn affected fruit crop yields, availability, and price stability. Although the drought situation has been alleviated, the trend for drier conditions is predicted to continue and will present increased significant risks for both producers in the region, and businesses purchasing from the area.

To mitigate against these climate-related risks, WWF South Africa is coordinating a programme of activity, with support from WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment 2030 signatories and the Tesco-WWF partnership. 

What action are we taking?

  • Clearance of alien, invasive species of plants. 

  • River restoration. 

  • Improving water management at farm and catchment scale. 

  • Supporting farmer-to-farmer learning & best practice, via local coordinators. 

  • Groundwater monitoring, to help track long term progress. 

  • Developing a modelling tool to track cumulative water use at a catchment scale. 

  • Monitoring biodiversity. 

What impact are we having?

  • More than 820ha of river cleared of thirsty invasive species. 

  • Approx. 1,134 megalitres of water being replenished back to nature annually due to invasive species clearance - a huge boost to available water supplies, with significant potential biodiversity benefits. 

  • Over 100 local job opportunities created. 

This video explains more about the impact we are having:

What are our future plans?

  • Long-term multi-partner support for invasive species clearance, due to both the scale of the problem and the need for continued follow up in cleared areas. 

  • Continuity of the catchment co-ordinator posts, essential for building momentum and trust with local stakeholders. 

  • Securing additional UK and international business supporters. 

  • Enabling active restoration of cleared areas through the establishment of nurseries for native plant species, creating both terrestrial biodiversity benefits as well as water resource gains. 

  • Finalising the water abstraction modelling tool and applying it to other catchments to understand the gap between abstractions and designated environmental flows. 

  • Using the lessons from our work in South Africa to develop a set of mutually agreed business advocacy positions on water management. 

Interested in getting involved? Contact the team

Other projects include: