The story of Rooibos is a uniquely interesting one. It was the local people who first discovered that the fine, needle-like leaves of the wild Aspalathus linearis plant made a tasty, aromatic tea. Rooibos tea - cherished for its mahogany color, deep aroma, full-bodied taste, and health benefits - is today a very popular drink in South Africa. It is enjoyed hot or iced, with milk or without, even baked into sweets.
The Rooibos Company was privatised in 1993. The industry has grown from strength to strength so that the unique goodness of Rooibos may today be enjoyed by people all over the world. The area surrounding Clanwilliam is the only place in the world where Rooibos is cultivated as an agricultural crop. It is processed, packaged and despatched worldwide and more than 2,000 metric tons of rooibos are expeorted annually.
Seventy-five farmers from Wupperthal and surrounding communities currently participate in a program moving from wild harvesting to sustainable cultivation of a product suitable for export to the world market. Many of these farmers use to gather rooibos in the wild.
Growing rooibos organically is not particularly difficult and brings farmers a better price. As a result, all Wupperthal farmers are now growing rooibos organically.