Khoi and San communities finally taste the financial benefits of rooibos tea

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A rooibos tea farm worker with a bag of cut rooibos tea during the harvest. Photo: Getty
A rooibos tea farm worker with a bag of cut rooibos tea during the harvest. Photo: Getty


The SA Rooibos Council (SARC) has made good on the agreement reached in 2019 to improve Khoi and San communities after years of struggle. These communities will receive R12.2 million as part of the access and benefit-sharing agreement.

This first tranche of the money was disbursed equally between the National Khoi and San Council and the SA San Council, which would then distribute the money.

Martin Bergh, the chairperson of the SARC, said:

The industry is delighted that the first funds have now been paid to the representatives of the Khoi and San people, and remain committed to the terms of the access and benefit-sharing agreement.

The SARC said the two councils were finalising processes and procedures on how the money received would be distributed across the communities.

It said:

The Khoi-Khoi Biodiversity Trust was developing a comprehensive plan to distribute the funds in a way that would secure equity and fairness to all. A set of principles and policies will guide it, and communities will only be able to access funds by submitting a formal business plan to the CEO of the trust. This process will be communicated to the different community structures and will be followed up by workshops.

The SARC added that the funds would be used to protect cultural heritage, advance education and development within the community, and improve livelihoods with respect, honesty, fairness and care.

Community structures will receive help to develop governance structures before the benefit is shared.

Going forward, a benefit-sharing levy of 1.5% of the farm gate price of the tea would be paid annually into the trust.

Rooibos tea, which is only grown and produced in South Africa, is farmed in the Cederberg area of the Western Cape.

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