Friday 12 August 2022

UTZ Certification helps Rooibos farmers lead the field

“Everyone here has great respect for the UTZ logo … it is nice for us to be part of UTZ and to be able to explain to the workers that this is an organizations that we have chosen to walk this path with." Johannes Phielander, Mouton Citrus Farm.

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Johannes Phielander’s experience of the UTZ Rooibos program is just one of those collected in a new case study released today.

Five years after the UTZ Rooibos Code of Conduct began, a new study spoke with all five UTZ Certified Rooibos farms and both Processors to find out how they perceived the changes certification had bought.

The researchers found that processors and farmers a like, felt that the UTZ program was having positive effects on their income, their environment and their lives.

It was found that UTZ farmers had greatly 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.

“I have undergone a mind shift and am now more aware of the natural environment and better agricultural practices … To be certified as an UTZ farmer puts me ahead of other farmers.” Francois de Plessis, Aggenbagskraal Boedery.

Rooibos farmers also cited UTZ Certification as the trigger to set up or improve record keeping systems, which allowed them to make more informed daily decisions.

The research also found that UTZ was having an effect beyond the farm gate, with training in health and safety meaning that workers were not only seeing safer working conditions but also experiencing access to broader health and safety issues including regular health checks and information in HIV and AIDS.

A summary of the findings is available here.

You can read the full report here and UTZ’s response here.

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