Pythons, bush pigs, leopards… this isn’t a trip to the local zoo but normal life on this Fairtrade farm in South Africa! Alan Whyte, the manager and owner of Springfield, reports on the farm’s environmentally safe practices, their training programmes for workers, and one particularly unusual training session.
We at Springfield are very proud of the way we conserve our soils, our natural trees and vegetation, our wildlife, our birds and our clean waterways. African rock pythons are seen regularly, and bushbuck, duiker (both red and grey), porcupines, bush pig, and many other mammal species are common. Some of these farm residents are declared endangered species. Recently one of our workers even saw a leopard on the farm.
We have an environmental policy on the farm that encourages biodiversity, controlling pollution by managing chemicals, fuel, oil and fertilizers very carefully, prohibiting tree felling, prohibiting the trapping and snaring of wildlife, controlling wild fires, preventing soil erosion, implementing environmentally friendly agricultural practices, preserving areas of natural bush and trees and, where feasible, creating new areas. Regular training of our workers is one of the most important ways we achieve this biodiversity. We try to show them that conserving nature ensures a balanced environment that makes farming and farming jobs sustainable.
Recently while walking on our farm I came across a bushbuck that had died after being caught in a snare. I loaded the bushbuck on my farm vehicle and assembled my workers so that they could see the wasteful and cruel result of setting wire snares. As they gathered around the vehicle they could see that the meat was inedible as the animal had decomposed. I believe this on the spot lesson meant a lot more than a training session sitting in our training centre!
Springfield Farms is a Fairtrade certified producer located at the foot of a small range of mountains called the Soutpansberg in South Africa. The farm produces Fairtrade avocados and lychees, as well as non-Fairtrade macadamia nuts and pecan nuts (as there are currently no Fairtrade Standards for these nuts). Read more about Springfield Farms on our website.