Community - Swellendam Aloe Ferox – The Natural Africa


Centuries before the healing properties of plants became popular on the world stage the indigenous people of Southern Africa made use of the Aloe ferox plant. The ancient art of tapping the bitter sap from the leaves is still practiced and forms an important part of local tradition. Today the Aloe ferox plant has been accepted worldwide for its superior antiseptic, cleansing, moisturising and anti-inflammatory properties.


Aloe ferox grow in abundance and wild in the Albertinia district and “aloe tapping” has been done for generations in a sustainable manner. However, some farmers planted aloes on their farms and so did the company on land that it leases from one of the company shareholders. This is done to ensure a sustainable supply to the factory.

The methodology that was followed over the years and still are as follows:
The bottom, (up to four rows) leaves are harvested in a sustainable manner by the “Tappers” and sap collected. The “Tapper” will harvest the leaves from his/her “allocated” aloes thus ensuring that they each look after and harvest their aloes in a sustainable manner. Harvesting during droughts is not done.

The sap collected by the “Tappers” is transported by the farmers to the factory and the “Tapper” receives two-thirds of the buying price and the farmer one third. Factory staff collects the “tapped” leaves in the field where after it is processed at the factory.

Families “inherited” aloes growing on our shareholders farms (private land) meaning that only the family to who the aloes were allocated harvest those aloes and in doing so ensure sustainability of “their aloes”. Harvesting of leaves during spells of drought stops as soon as it becomes clear that plants are under stress. The farmers and “Tappers” will not harvest the plants if they feel that harm will be done to the sustainable growth of their plants and will stop harvesting activities sooner rather than later in a dry - or expected to be dry - season.
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