Turqle's mission is to create sustainable jobs in South Africa,
through trade in fair and ethical food.

From the beginning, Turqle had to be a self-sufficient, sustainable, fair trading, food exporter. It also needed to be resilient and flexible, and an effective, compassionate interface between the overseas markets and manufacturers in South Africa.

By the time they established Turqle Trading in 1997, Rain & Pieter had had a lot of experience in alternative trade - the forerunner of Fair Trade. They also had enough commercial experience to know that the old alternative trade models did not work... and conventional, commercial trade did not have enough 'conscience' cogs to be a real engine for social growth: a new model was needed.

In a Nutshell...

Pieter, Rain, Linda, Sarah and Esky are Turqle Trading.

Turqle has about 140 active products in the market.

Apart from products under private fair trade labels, in 2010, Turqle created its own brand: Cape Treasures and in 2012, officially adopted Ukuva iAfrica.

Turqle's overseas markets are with fair trading organisations: El Puente in Germany, Fair Trade Original and Cerro Azul in the Netherlands, Ukuva-CH and Claro in Switzerland, House of Fair Trade in Sweden, Oxfam Shops and Rex in Australia, JTS in Scotland, SERRV in the USA, Ukuva-USA.

In South Africa, products are distributed to the trade via Diletto and to local customers, via Turqle Brands on-line shop.

Our 8 manufacturers are in the Western Cape - together, creating sustainable employment for about 500 people.

World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) guarantees that Turqle Trading is a Fair Trade Organisation. Turqle is certified by Fairtrade International as a Licencee and a Trader in Wine Grapes and Herbs and Spices. Fair For Life (IMO) has certified Turqle Trading as a handler of Fair Trade ingredients.

Apart from the Fairtrade premiums that are paid to the pepper producers in India and the grape farmers in South Africa, Turqle pays 2,5% of the FOB price of every product sold, to the Fair Trade Trust. This money is used for the education of the workers and their children. Some of Turqle's customers also contribute to the Fair Trade Trust.

 

About the Turqle people...

Rain Morgan and Pieter Swart: Founders of Turqle Trading
Linda Buckle: QC at Turqle Trading
Sarah Withey: Product Developer at Turqle Trading
Esky Chunga: General Assistant and Packer at Turqle Trading

The Turqle people are a group of specialists - each person manages their own 'department' and most non-core functions are outsourced.

Pieter Swart and Rain Morgan are serious about food - love cooking! Pieter takes care of the logistics and finance - Rain does the words, pictures and strategic stuff. Both are heavily committed to key functions in WFTO.

Linda Buckle deals with QC - the systems and processes, food safety and social audits (Turqle's Internal Monitoring) as well as the routine lab tests that allow us to ship with confidence.

Sarah Withey does product and recipe development (the tasty stuff). She is a chef and her food-heart is in the Cape (and Tuscany and Provence, the Mediterranean and the Ottoman region, with a dash of North Africa...). Sarah also keeps a hand on the admin of the Fair Trade Trust and lately (with the help of Esky) - deals with local market orders.

Esky Chunga packs the samples and gift packs and local orders and labels product and sorts raws and helps out wherever there's a pinch.

About the Turqle model...

Turqle develops the products with our customers and manufacturers. The products have to be really good food first - in every aspect as good as (and better!) than its competitors in Europe. Working with our customers (and the label laws of their country), we create and print the labels in South Africa. Turqle also assumes responsibility for maintaining the Fair Trade conversation.

Most of the products (85%+) are exported under our brands: Cape Treasures - the taste of the Cape - and Ukuva iAfrica - the taste of Africa. We also pack about forty SKU's under the house brand of El Puente in Germany and four for Fair Trade Original in the Netherlands.

 

El Puente's Mustard and Rosie's Spiced Salt Grinder
Ukuva iAfrica's Hot Drops: Lemon, Smoked Habanero and Fermented Four-chilli Sauce
Cape Treasures Seasoning Solution: Lamb
Fair Trade Original's Pepper and Spiced Salt Grinders

 

In 2014 we started supplying the South African market through Diletto Distribution and in early 2016, we launched our South African on-line shop: Turqle Brands - the local home for Cape Treasures and Ukuva iAfrica. Read more about the products... Have a look at the on-line shop...

Products are manufactured at various factories in the Western Cape - from Wellington and Malmesbury, to Montague Gardens and Westlake.

Some of our producers are small and semi-rural: the products are made where the vegetables are grown; and some manufacturers are huge. One of the biggest, was small when we started working with them and they grew and grew and grew... eventually, buying out one of our other spice suppliers. Ukuva's production had to be moved from a charming little factory to a much bigger one - all stainless steel pipes and pots - when demand outgrew the capacity of the little factory. Read more about the producers...

All the salt we use in all the grinders, come from Khoisan Natural Salt in Veldrift and although the pepper and the spices are imported (spices do not grow in South Africa), we buy local raw materials, bottles, caps, labels, boxes etc. Read more about our commitment to local beneficiation...

Apart from the good food story, Turqle is also a fair trade story...

Locally there is the Fair Trade Trust that was set up to provide funds for the education of the workers and their immediate families. Read more about the Fair Trade Trust.

Internationally, Turqle is heavily committed to the WFTO (World Fair Trade Organisation). Both Pieter and Rain hold key positions: Pieter is on the global board (representative for Africa & Midddle East) and by extention, on the board of WFTO Africa & Middle East; Rain is the assistant coordinator of the Fair Prices, Fair Wages Working Group and also the WFTO representative for Living Wages. This means that roughly a quarter of Turqle's management time is budgeted towards fair trading activities. This is a huge investment for a small company.

Perhaps the question people ask most often, is why we do it - what is the motivation? The answer is quite simply: right now, HALF of the young people in South Africa are unemployed. The problem is not just a South African problem - youth unemployment is a crisis throughout Africa, the middle East and in most of the developing world... Add this to a worldwide problem of exploitative labour practices - discrimination against women; child labour and the myriad of iniquities of conventional trade, its clear that there is a need for a more compassionate way of doing business - a move towards more fairness in trade. Read more about Turqle's approach to fair trade...

 

Logo of Fairtrade International on Turqle Trading's web page footer.
Logo of the Fair Trade Trust on Turqle Trading's web page footer
Fair for Life logo on the Turqle Trading's web page footer.
WFTO Gauranteed Fair Trade logo on the Turqle Trading's web page footer.