Rooibos is an indigenous plant, part of the exclusively South African Fynbos ecoregion. We believe that farming Rooibos should be a matter of respect for the environment from which it comes, which is why we support various sustainability initiatives.
One of the issues Rooibos farmers face is that Rooibos lands have a concerningly low stand on average and the lifetime of fields has become shorter over time.
This means that the lifecycle and production of Rooibos are sub-optimal and that farming and land use are often not as efficient as they can be. It is also important to optimize land use to relieve the pressure on current land and to ensure that as little as possible virgin land is cleared of indigenous fynbos.
1. Aerial Survey
We invest in an annual industry-wide aerial survey that provides detailed information on the age, stand, and estimated harvest of Rooibos fields throughout the industry. This insight into Rooibos supply enables farmers to make informed decisions about their farming practices, including when to plant.
2. Seed-improvement project
While several factors probably contribute to the low stand of Rooibos lands, genetic drift is likely to be one of them. We are therefore running a research and plant improvement project that involves improving the genetic makeup of Rooibos and the production of improved seeds. We are therefore running a research project that involves improving the genetic makeup of Rooibos seeds.
3. Regenerative farming
Regenerative farming is becoming a necessity and we are particularly interested in Regenerative Organic. We are pursuing the concept of regenerative farming practices for Rooibos and intend to conduct trials. We also believe Regenerative Organic has the potential to improve Rooibos production and quality, improving soil structure and lowering production costs.
4. On-farm Technical Advice
Our Tea Master, Deon Zandberg, provides on-farm technical advice to our producers, including advice on planting cycles, harvesting practices, and the management of weeds and pests. This enables farmers to optimize their practices. We also help eligible farmers with Organic and Rainforest certifications and other administrative and regulatory issues.
5. Field Days and Training Workshops
We host regular field days and training workshops with our producers, presenting information on the latest research and international agriculture trends. By doing so, we aim to encourage sustainable farming practices in the industry.