5 certified farms

2 certified processors estates 

Perception of the Rooibos program after 

3 years

Research carried out in the Cederberg region of South Africa


Publication date: October 2014

Sandra Kruger & associates_Logo The case study was carried out by Sandra Kruger & associates. The researchers carried out interviews with all UTZ certified Rooibos farms and processors providing an interesting insight into their perceptions of the UTZ certified program.  The research was commissioned and financed by UTZ. Research Method: Case study.



Rooibos farmers cited UTZ certification as the trigger to set up or improve record keeping systems. They felt that improved record keeping was having a positive impact, helping them to make informed decisions. Improved record keeping not only benefited farmers but also assisted processors, by providing a clearly traceable product.


UTZ certification meant better health and safety. Not only were farmers and processors ensuring compliance on issues linked directly to safer working conditions, and access to general healthcare, many interviewed often provided regular health checks and information on HIV and AIDS.


UTZ farmers were found to be frontrunners in improved environmental practices, with all those in the program participating in initiatives aimed at increasing awareness and commitment to protecting the environment, such as the South African Rooibos Council’s Right Rooibos initiative.


UTZ certification was seen to increase awareness on environmental issues and has meant increased compliance with national laws, for example it has allowed farmers to have a better overview of their Integrated Pest Management, which in turn has an impact on their environmental practices.


Living wage definition: remuneration required for a standard working week to afford a decent standard of living for a worker and her/his family. To include food, water, housing, education, health care, transport, clothing and other essential needs including provision for when the unexpected happens.

A 2013 study carried out in the Western Cape of South Africa calculated a living wage for agricultural workers to be R3,122 per month*. In the Rooibos study data collected allowed for an estimation for the total remuneration for permanent workers.

It is encouraging to see that two of the farms and one processor in the UTZ program are already paying above the living wage. The rest were between 1% and 11% below the benchmark.

UTZ has strengthened its approach to support wage improvement. The UTZ code of conduct (May 2014) has criterion to support wage improvement towards a living wage and UTZ is involved in large project with 6 other leading standards globally to work on the calculation, promotion and implementation of a living wage.

More about UTZ and Living Wage

* Living Wage for rural South Africa with Focus on Wine Grape Growing in Western Cape Province

UTZ Response

“It is encouraging to see those who participated in the Rooibos pilot becoming frontrunners in the sector, especially in the approach to environmental practices and awareness. It confirms our belief that UTZ certification can support the development of Rooibos production, and provides an encouraging base to build the program. As we enter year five of the program we are pleased to be able to have an UTZ field representative in South Africa with a focus on Rooibos production. This will allow us to provide direct support to existing farms and help the program continue its growth.”


  • The UTZ Rooibos program began in 2010.
  • Currently there are:
    • 6 commercial producers
    • 1 small farmer cooperative
    • 1 PDI (previously disadvantaged individual) farmer
    • 2 processors
  • Rooibos Limited – who have a global market share of 70% – are UTZ certified.
  • In 2013 more than 11% of total Rooibos production was UTZ certified.
  • The biggest market for UTZ certified Rooibos is currently the Netherlands.

“Before we only did induction training for Citrus workers, but after UTZ certification we do induction training for Rooibos workers as well.”

Madelé Mouton, Mouton Citrus

“Everyone here has great respect for the UTZ logo… it is nice for us to be able to explain to workers that this is an organization that we have chosen to walk this path with.”

Johannes Phielander, Mouton Citrus

“The biggest change as a result of UTZ has been in terms of the environment. I’ve undergone a mind shift, I’m now more aware of the natural environment and better agricultural practices in terms of this. To be certified as an UTZ farmer puts me ahead of other farmers.”

Francois de Plessis, Aggenbagskraal

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