Integrating Rooibos tea farmers with fair-trade markets in South Africa

Integrating Rooibos tea farmers with fair-trade markets in South Africa

Project Description

The rapid growth of Fair Trade certification offers the potential for empowering small-scale farmers via access to high-value markets and support for community development and sustainable production. In South Africa, Fair Trade can help combat acute racial and gender inequalities, building on post-Apartheid policies and non-governmental initiatives in agriculture. While some smallholder farmers have increased their well-being through Fair Trade, emerging black farmers historically excluded from land- and market access have yet to gain entry into these beneficial networks. This project identifies challenges and opportunities for integrating emerging farmers into Fair Trade and associated value-added activities.

Led by Laura Raynolds of Colorado State University, the international team's work focuses on rooibos which can be cultivated in arid soils with little capital investment. The project activities foster racial equity and combat poverty in one of South Africa’s poorest regions. Activities also promotes gender equity, recognizing that women play a key role as farmers and household workers yet are often the most disadvantaged. The team builds the organizational capacity of the Rooibos Council, establishing an Emerging Farmer Working Group, including a women’s networking group, and provides training in certified and value-added market access, biodiversity preservation, and fiscal management. The project directly benefits 500 farmers and family members. The team also works to extend benefits at national and international levels via policy engagement.

Project deliverables:

PDF materials in Afrikaans language:

Articles from the Center for Fair and Alternative Trade at Colorado State University:

Map Location

-33.8942695, 18.6294384


South Africa

USAID Objective