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So. Africa: Indigenous community to receive share of the sale of rooibos tea after multistakeholder agreement

Author: Brian Browdie, Quartz Africa, Published on: 8 November 2019

"South Africa's Khoisan to get a share of the commercialization of rooibos," 5 November 2019.

...Members of the indigenous Khoisan community will receive 1.5% of the value that people who grow, harvest, ferment or dry rooibos receive from processors annually as part of a benefit-sharing agreement among the government and representatives of indigenous people and farming groups...The area, which has been home to Khoisan people for millennia, is the only place in the world where rooibos grows naturally. The region also is the first stop in a global value chain. Demand for rooibos around the world fuels a $21 million local industry that remains predominantly in the hands of South Africa’s commercial farmers...

The agreement culminates nearly a decade of negotiations that followed the demand of Khoisan communities that the industry take note of their contribution to the commercialization of rooibos. In addition to payments, the agreement provides financial support for small-scale rooibos farmers in the country’s Western and Northern Cape provinces...

The pact comes amid a series of efforts by African communities to reclaim their cultural and artifacts and scientific knowledge. Last November, a Dutch court invalidated a European patent for teff flour, a staple grain that’s used in Ethiopia’s injera bread. In 2014, South Africa won geographic indicator protection for rooibos after companies in the U.S. and France moved to trademark the name...

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