From 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.