Ashoka Fellow
South Africa,
Fellow Since 2002
Stellenbosch Small Farms Holding Trust


This profile was prepared when Gerrit Hendriks was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Gerrit is taking advantage of the growing consumer demand for organic produce to help small farmers maintain a livelihood in the fresh produce trade, a sector increasingly dominated by large commercial farms. He helps small-scale farmers develop their own organic farming cooperative, one designed by and for them. Farming cooperatives have traditionally traded only with large commercial farms, and on the latter's terms. By contrast, Gerrit's cooperative is led by the small-scale farmers themselves who directly market quality, organic produce to retailers. Participating farmers bring their goods to a central location where it is graded for selling. High-quality produce is marketed to top-end retailers, and lower-quality produce to outdoor markets. Some lower-quality goods are also used to produce secondary, value-added items for sale to the higher-end markets. Gerrit provides training and mentoring to the farmers in organic farming methods, and all products sold through the cooperative are certified organic. His model is replicable in other communities across South Africa and beyond.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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