‘Tapping’ or harvesting the thick spiky leaves of the Cape Aloe Ferox is tough work, it requires special equipment and depends on weather conditions and times of the year. Usually done under the blazing heat of the Southern African sun, the harvesting work can lead the tappers across vast rugged fields and into almost inaccessible mountainsides. Tappers have a rare and unique relationship with the elements of nature and it's weather systems, being attuned to the whispers, shifts and nuances of the forces of natures is innate and an integral part of their daily work and way of life.
The unique methods of traditional tapping are entirely sustainable. Only a few leaves from each plant are harvested to ensure that plants are never drained or over harvested. As a result, the Cape Aloe Ferox plants live longer than most local Aloe species, for up to 150 years. Tapping also lightens the heavy load of the tree and regular light harvests prevent the plants from toppling over. Through the sustainable wildcrafting of the Cape Aloe Ferox, the Hessequa traditional tappers ensure financial independence for their family for the long term and for future generations. Aloe Ferox raw material is Ecocert certified.
PRESERVING RURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
To the indigenous Hessequa people of the Cape Floral Region, Aloe Ferox is a plant that creates financial independence and sustains their livelihoods from generation to generation.
The Hessequa Aloe Ferox harvesters, known as traditional Tappers, are wildcrafters who sustainably harvest and nurture their Aloe Ferox plants as a prized legacy and a valued source of income for their family and for the generations to come.
Based on environmental conservation, this system is the cornerstone of economic growth for the tappers and their families, it binds together communities and forges supportive good relationships between farmers and Tappers. Children are taught how to tap by their grandparents and it is not unusual to see four generations working the mountainsides together.
The continuance of the sustainable wildcrafting tradition of the Hessequa is at the very core of the Phyto Afriq vision and mission. For every bottle of Aloe Ferox + Ultra Hydrating Facial Gel that is sold, a percentage of the proceeds are donated to a fund established by Phyto Afriq. Working closely with the Aloe Ferox industry, Phyto Afriq will be part of the long term plan to preserve these traditions and the financial independence of the Hessequa traditional Tappers.