rural rbosseedcollectionFrom our field office in Nieuwoudtville, EMG has been working with small-scale rooibos farmers of the Suid-Bokkeveld for some years, assisting them in accessing fair trade and organic markets. For these farmers, marginalised by apartheid and the monopoly rooibos processing industry, the higher prices obtained on the fair trade and organic markets, mean that tea-growing is no longer merely a survival strategy, but a viable farming activity.

EMG provides a range of on-going support to Suid-Bokkeveld farmers organised under the Heiveld Co-operative, representing some 60 small-scale farmers and their dependents. With access to alternative trading systems comes supportive financing and training. The farmers have been able to raise capital to build their own tea-processing facility and have recently purchased their own administrative and processing facility in the village of Nieuwoudtville.
As their farming activities have become more profitable, so opportunities for building sustainable farming practices have increased.

EMG has also worked closely with small-scale farmers of the Eksteenskuil Agricultural Co-operative, who farm along the Orange River and produce fair trade certified sun-dried raisins and sultanas, with the Ericaville Farmers Association, and with small-scale farmers of Wupperthal.

Rural Development - Resources

Co-published (2015) by the UNCCD and Tudor Rose, Living Land includes a chapter on EMG's work with small-scale rooibos farmers in the Northern Cape.

The Sustainable Harvest of Wild Rooibos, (2007) Noel Oettle and Rhoda Malgas, EMG (2.1MB) -- ook in Afrikaans beskikbaar by EMG

Juweel van die Berge: Handleiding vir die organiese rooibosboer (2002) Oettle, EMG

Amazing Grace – A mealie farmer’s story (2002), Illustrated by Carlos Amato, EMG & Biowatch, 2nd Ed.

Capitalising on local knowledge - Community knowledge exchange: A toolkit for the preparation, implementation and evaluation of community-to-community knowledge and learning exchanges (2002), Oettle & Koelle, Toolkit 1 - Methodological overview & case studies, Toolkit 2 - Guidelines for Implementation , World Bank

Everybody's cup of tea: Community Action and Rooibos tea (2001) Noel Oettle