Nedbank Agriculture Western Cape has committed to planting 100 trees a year in the province in line with the objectives of the Boland Trees for Bees Pledge Fund.
The fund was created by bee food diversity company The Bee Effect and Boland Cellar, which is a winemaking client of financial institution Nedbank, in partnership with environmental organisation Greenpop Foundation.
Nedbank says it recognises the importance of mitigating climate change and avoiding major biodiversity loss, since it can lead to ecosystem collapse.
The indigenous tree-planting initiative aims to restore ecosystems and degraded forest areas by providing beneficial nectar and pollen sources for bees through reforestation.
This will greatly benefit the reforestation needs of Greenpop’s Forests for Life programme in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.
Greenpop aims to restore ecosystems through reforestation and urban greening. The organisation has planted more than 115 000 trees since its establishment in 2010.
Boland Cellar has collaborated with The Bee Effect to address the decline in honeybees and their food security through urban bee farming, seed programmes and safe bee havens, as part of the winemaker's brand and sustainability efforts.
Daneel Rossouw, the divisional agriculture manager for the southern division at Nedbank, says the programme supports the focus of the bank on sustainability.
“At Nedbank, we believe we have a significant role to play in driving sustainable development and, in particular, a responsibility to help the agricultural sector evolve to a more efficient and productive model through sustainable agricultural practices.
“Honeybees are critical to the food supply, as all agricultural food crops grown around the world depend on pollination, with bees responsible for the majority of this,” Rossouw says.
In addition to their role in our food chain, honeybees pollinate many other plants that serve as habitats and food sources for wildlife.
Nedbank states that this programme is unique as it does not just feed the honeybees, but reforestation also plays a key role in carbon sequestration and supports the rehabilitation of water catchment areas, which are critical biodiversity areas that are not sustainable without reforestation.
Rossouw concludes that the initiative provides an important educational and influencing opportunity, and is aligned with programmes Nedbank is involved with through partners such as the Nedbank wilderness preservation organisation, the World Wide Fund for Nature Green Trust, and hunger prevention organisation FoodForward SA.