In 2014 we launched our Seeds of Hope subsistence farming project to help small scale rooibos subsistence farmers in the faraway mission town of Heuningvlei. With no means to buy rooibos seeds, plough their land or transport their tea to market, we’re changing their lives by doing so for them and upskilling them in best-in-class rooibos farming practices too.
At the end of the production cycle, we guarantee these farmers a consistent, premium price regardless of supply or market trends. The cash injection is unprecedented in the area. One farmer has upgraded his donkey cart to a Hilux; others have opened bank accounts for the first time ever. And what started as a trickle is rapidly becoming a stream.
The number of farmers participating in the program has increased exponentially with every passing year and today we work with more than 20 subsistence farmers and buy more than 40 tons of tea from them.
As rooibos grows only in the Cederberg, we’re committed to helping protect and preserve this unique habitat. We do this by farming as close to nature as possible, using biodiversity principles, and planting endangered trees back into the region every year.
This exquisite, seemingly untouched area (which is only 110km in radius) forms part of The Cape Floristic Region. The smallest of only six floral kingdoms in the world, it is also the richest. The converging currents of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans render this area an environmentally unique and highly biodiverse region with many plant species – including rooibos – occurring there and nowhere else.
However, the Cederberg is under severe threat. Identified as one of the 25 most threatened biodiversity hotspots in the world, its conservation is now of critical global importance.