Eksteenskuil Agricultural Co-operative – South Africa
With Traidcraft’s support, small-scale farmers at the Eksteenskuil Agricultural Co-operative (EAC) became the world’s first supplier of Fairtrade raisins – a vital ingredient in every Geobar!
EAC is in the Orange River area near the Kalahari Desert and has 65 farmers in its co-op. The grape farmers are scattered across 21 islands where infrastructure is poor, some don’t have electricity or piped water.
Meet the growers
Advantages of working with Traidcraft
Traidcraft’s relationship with the farmers, which began in 1995, is much more than the typical buyer-grower connection.
For a start we helped to develop the farmers’ association into EAC and worked with them to gain Fairtrade certification.
Traidcraft even got EAC together with our Chilean honey supplier Apicoop so they could have a chat about how best to run a co-operative! It’s always good when a friend helps another one of your friends isn’t it?
We also provide an ongoing support programme for the farmers. Last year it was training them in cash flow, planning and budgeting to strengthen their co-operative.
By working with us, EAC has also been able to afford to buy fertilisers and machinery, improve irrigation and invest in training and support.
Benefits from the Fairtrade premium
Because the raisins are sold under Fairtrade terms, this means that EAC receives an extra social premium which they spend on improving the local community.
The co-operative recently decided to use the Fairtrade premium to buy schoolbags for local children.
The children were carrying their schoolbooks in old carrier bags and, in the rainy season, their books got soggy so they couldn’t do their homework! Now with their bright, new schoolbags they don’t have any excuses!
Their head teacher described the day they received their bags as a blessing and the gifts as manna from heaven!
Producing Fairtrade raisins
Grape vines are great for farmers who work small uneconomic pieces of land. Each vine takes about three years to produce its first crop. The grapes are then dried in the sun for about ten days to become raisins. But the farmers have to keep an eye on them, because it’s important to maintain at least 14% of their water content so that they are nice and juicy – just how we like them for our Geobars!
Most grapes are dried on concrete in the sun, but when the farmers run out of space, they dry the grapes on their roof tops!
- Ask the growers a question
- Raisins from EAC go into all of our Geobars
- Where can I buy Geobars
- I would like to have regular updates about the growers
- Fair trade at school