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Farming to create a new future
Managing their own business
Sharing the success
Choosing Fairtrade as their future
Adhering to international sustainability standards
Driefontein's location
   
Farming to create a new future

Rooibos grows in only one place in the world: the unspoilt Cederberg Mountains and valleys around Clanwilliam in South Africa. This area forms part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, home to at least 8 500 species of plants. Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is but one of the fynbos (“fine bush”) species found in this floral kingdom which is the smallest and richest of the six floral kingdoms on earth.

Two of the Rooibos-producing farms in this area - including Driefontein (“three fountains”) near the small town of Redelinghuys some 200 km to the north of Cape Town - belong to a commercial farmer.

Looking for a way to empower his 36 permanently employed workers, he investigated several business models, knocked on numerous doors and finally decided on Fairtrade as the way forward.

In March 2010, the 1 110 hectare Driefontein was put into a trust and the 36 farm labourers formed the Fairtrade-approved Driefontein Small Farmers’ Cooperative to produce organic Rooibos in a sustainable way to better the lives of these workers and their families - positively affecting over 150 people. They started out with enthusiasm, their willingness to acquire business skills, their good working relationship with Rooibos Ltd and a handful of hope for a better tomorrow.

Renting the farm, they operate it as an independent commercial venture with legal status while adhering to generally accepted business principles as well as the sustainability standards of the international Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance organisations.

One of the most valuable gifts that these labourer-farmers bring to the table is their indigenous knowledge of Rooibos - in many cases handed down from generation to generation - and their love for this land where most of them were born and raised.

To ensure the transfer of management skills, share resources and benefit from economies of scale, the Driefontein farmers also form part of the joint operations of the other three Rooibos farms. They rent communal production equipment, use one drying yard and sit on the same management committees.

And when their Rooibos is ready at the end of the season, they proudly deliver under their own name and brand identity to Rooibos Ltd to market and sell it on their behalf.

Terms of use Driefontein 2014