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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Horticulture

Project video.


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Improving Market Access for Emerging South African Rooibos Farmers

Target Country: South Africa

Principal Investigators: Laura Raynolds, Colorado State University and Andries du Toit, University of the Western Cape, South Africa


Project Description

Fair Trade’s rapid growth offers the potential for empowering small 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 NGO initiatives in agriculture. While some small farmers have increased their wellbeing 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 the challenges and opportunities for integrating emerging farmers into Fair Trade and associated value-added activities. We focus on rooibos which can be cultivated in arid soils with little capital investment. The project fosters racial equity and combats poverty in one of South Africa’s poorest regions and promotes gender equity, recognizing that women play a key role as farmers and household workers yet are often the most disadvantaged. We build the organizational capacity of the Rooibos Council, establishing an Emerging Farmer Working Group, including a women’s networking group, and provide training in certified and value-added market access, biodiversity preservation, and fiscal management. The project directly benefits 500 farmers and family members; we extend benefits via policy engagement at national and international levels.

Project deliverables:

PDF materials in Afrikaans language:

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