The Rooibos Access and Benefit Sharing Agreement

The Rooibos Access and Benefit-Sharing Agreement recognize the Khoikhoi and San peoples as the traditional knowledge holders to the uses of Rooibos, an indigenous plant species found only in the Cederberg region of South Africa.

In November 2019, the world’s first industry-wide benefit-sharing agreement was launched in South Africa between the Khoikhoi and San, and the South African rooibos industry. The agreement is the basis from which the Khoikhoi and San communities of South Africa will have access to benefits in the form of a contribution from the commercialization of Rooibos by the South African rooibos industry.

The ABS agreement now brings the South African Rooibos Industry into compliance with their benefit-sharing obligations as per South Africa’s bioprospecting law and regulations. It is the first agreement of its kind in the world – both in terms of the interpretation and application of the Nagoya Protocol and aims to share benefits with identified communities. The accord is regarded as an important milestone in the history of global governance for the preservation of genetic biodiversity, associated knowledge and poverty relief.

Benefits will be calculated as a percentage of the farm gate price – which is the price that Processors pay to commercial farmers when buying Rooibos. A small levy of the benefits generated will then be paid to the Khoikhoi and San communities of South Africa, who were the first communities to live in the Rooibos growing area.

Carmien Tea fully supports the initiative of the South African Rooibos Industry and are fully compliant to adhere to the regulation. We trust that this initiative and funds can be used to support ground-level people and to better lives. We will always strive to take hands across the globe with all our customers to open channels and vehicles to support growth and development from the top-down and from the bottom up, to make a difference where we can.


Natural Justice. 2021. The Rooibos Access and Benefit-sharing Agreement. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 17 June 2021].