A water supply at her door
Like cooks across the world, Elizabeth Mentoor enjoys seeing her family eat the food that she prepares.
Elizabeth (64) lives on Smiths Island, a small island in South Africa’s Orange River. A former farmer, she and her family now pick grapes grown by members of Eksteenskuil Agricultural Co-operative, which sells Fairtrade raisins to Traidcraft.
The money from this seasonal work provides them with a valuable income – but that’s not the only way that Elizabeth benefits from the co-operative. The Fairtrade premium on sales of raisins has paid for two community water pumps, meaning Elizabeth and her neighbours no longer have to carry buckets of water from the canal to their homes.
Ready to use whenever she needs it
With the help of her grandson, Glen, the pump is set up in the canal, 70 metres away. The water is pumped uphill and into a large water tank just outside Elizabeth’s front door, where it is purified and ready to use whenever she needs it.
"We only used to carry two buckets and that is not enough for the family so we had to walk the whole day to get water," Elizabeth said. "Now it is convenient for us because we have water in the tank.”"
As well as paying for the water pumps, the Fairtrade premium means the farmers have been able to invest in new farming equipment and provide schoolbags for the children at four primary schools on the islands.
Described by school principal Don van Wyk as "manna from heaven", the schoolbags replace the plastic carrier bags which the pupils – including three of Elizabeth’s grandchildren - used to carry books to and from school.
Grapes are one of the few crops that earn money for farmers in the Orange River area of South Africa, near the Kalahari Desert. Small-scale farmers, who can get the money to invest in vines and learn the skill, can begin to earn after three years.
Traidcraft buys raisins from Eksteenskuil, a company that sells on behalf of farmers with large holdings as well as those with only a few acres. To ensure that the benefit from our trade reaches the most needy farmers we charge a premium, which goes to the Eksteenskuil Farmers Association.