Rooibos plantation size at all-time high as demand explodes around the world

pexels.com, 2018

Rooibos is fast becoming one of the most attractive investments in agriculture.

The Western Cape’s Cederberg and Sandveld are the only places on Earth where Rooibos is farmed.

A booming global “health and wellbeing” market is fuelling the rapidly increasing demand for Rooibos.

Apart from its health benefits, Rooibos is also used in beauty products, nutraceuticals, alcoholic drinks, confectionary and everyday foodstuffs, such as yoghurt and cereal.

Rooibos may even be flavoured with dagga in future, says SA Rooibos Council (SARC) Spokesperson Nicie Vorster.

There is currently 57 000 hectares of farmland planted with Rooibos, an all-time record.

Rooibos is a hardy, dry land crop which is generally less affected by drought when compared to other rain-dependent crops.

Farmers proactively managed supplies in the face of the most severe drought on record that plagued the Western Cape over the past few years, by implementing more sustainable farming practices, removing water-thirsty alien invasive plants in the vicinity of fields and limiting pest and disease outbreaks.

Based on rainfall, farmers expect an improvement in crop size.

Government recently approved the raising of the Clanwilliam Dam wall by 13 meters, trebling the dam’s storage capacity and provide farmers in the area with a more secure water supply.

Construction on the project started in November and should take about five years to complete.

The Rooibos industry currently employs an estimated 8 000 farmworkers with additional employment in upstream activities, such as processing, packaging and retailing.

About half (between 6000 and 7000 tonnes) of Rooibos is consumed locally, while the balance is exported to more than 30 countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, the UK and US.

Ray White (in for Bruce Whitfield on The Money Show) interviewed Vorster.

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and scroll down for quotes from it).

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