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South African rooibos industry pays R12.2 million to Khoi and San communities

The rooibos industry has paid the first round of benefit-sharing funds to the National Khoi and San Council and the South African San Council under an Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) agreement signed between the parties in 2019.

To ensure financial regularity, a long but necessary administrative process preceded the disbursement of R12.2 million.

As a signatory to the Nagoya Protocol, South Africa requires all those who trade in indigenous biological resources, such as rooibos, to share benefits with traditional knowledge holders in a fair and equitable manner.

Negotiations between the parties began as early as 2014, when the South African government recognized the Khoi and the San as the rightful holders of the traditional knowledge of Rooibos.

The Rooibos ABS agreement is a first of its kind in the world. Other agreements involved specific companies and traditional knowledge holders, while this agreement encompasses the entire industry, ensuring that all volumes of Rooibos sold are harvested through a single process.

The rooibos industry – represented by the SA Rooibos Council (Sarc) has confirmed that a benefit sharing levy of 1.5% of the farm gate price of rooibos will be paid annually to a trust.

The use of the funds will be decided independently by the National Khoi and San Council and the South African San Council, which represent the Khoi and the San respectively. Its use is mainly for the upliftment of these communities. An annual report, detailing the distribution of funds, will be submitted to the DFFE to ensure full transparency.

Martin Bergh, President of SARC, says the purpose of benefit-sharing funds is to contribute to poverty alleviation, food security, social development and biodiversity conservation, to which the industry remains fully attached.

South African rooibos industry pays R12.2 million to Khoi and San communities

Source link South African rooibos industry pays R12.2 million to Khoi and San communities

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