from Andy Good, director, Equal Exchange tea and coffee supplier

Sir; The Focus On South Africa (The Grocer, June 11, p43-51) concentrated on developments in South Africa with particular reference to the fruit and wine industries.
Unfortunately, you failed to mention the only indigenous product that is widely available- the herbal beverage known as Rooibos or Redbush. This product also appeals to the growing number of customers concerned with healthy eating and drinking and Fairtrade.
References to the Black Economic Empowerment policy are right to focus on outcomes. Fairtrade-certified and small farmer-sourced Rooibos avoids any of the market distortions found under the Black Economic Empowerment scheme. In particular, impossible transfers of equity, made without appropriate training or experience, are avoided in this market-driven approach.
Small farmers in South Africa now have real access to markets for the first time and empowerment is bringing permanent improvements to their quality of life, too.