Fairtrade Fortnight: Barend can save towards his retirement

Fairtrade rooibos producer Barend Salomo
Wupperthal Rooibos Cooperative

WHERE: SOUTH AFRICA
FAIRTRADE CERTIFIED SINCE: 2010
MEMBERS: 81

Barend's story, much like many others is proof of how the Fairtrade Premium can be used make a positive difference in the lives of many farmers as well as farming communities as a whole. Barend and his wife, as well as his son, Benedict, farms with rooibos in Wupperthal. Rooibos has been cultivated in the Cederberg for decades; but “without Fairtrade there was no future for us in rooibos farming in Wupperthal”, says Salomo. WORC was sarted in 2009 by 53 individual rooibos farmers and now counts just over 90 members. Fairtrade assists the co-op with capacity building and training in areas like health and safety. Co-ops such as Wupperthal benefit from the Fairtrade Minimum Price. This has translated into increased household incomes for the co-op members, allowing them to spend their time on their crops instead of additional seasonal work.

According to Salomo, “Many of [the members] have increased their yields and feel like bona fide rooibos farmers for the first time. More of our member families can now afford to send their kids to high school in Clanwiliam and afterwards to college.”