The African Honey Bee Project, partly funded by Sappi, is doing an excellent job in encouraging rural entrepreneurship, alleviating poverty, curbing fires and providing additional financial resources for local timber farmers.
Where it all began:
Sappi Forests first decided to team up with African Honey Bee when they were granted access to Sappi land for their hives in Mpumalanga a few years back. Due to the initial success, Sappi decided to expand its partnership by sponsoring bee-farming training of community members and small-scale timber growers in Northern Zululand.
Click here to watch the video.
The project benefits Sappi and local communities in numerous ways:
- It allows locals to make an additional income from honey
- It provides proper training in honey collection and bee-keeping that helps to reduce the number of fires started by honey hunters
- Trainees are taught how to catch wild swarms in catch boxes and how to use sustainable bee-keeping methods, like making their own protective gloves, veil, smoker and hive tools from old jeans, hats, nets, curtains and tins
- They receive their first 'flatpack' - the material used to make a hive. When they start catching bees and making honey, they are awarded with more flatpacks to make more hives
- As honey production is seasonal, participants also learn the basics of vegetable and poultry production, so that they can supplement their diets with protein (from eggs and meat) and from the vegetables they grow. They also generate an income throughout the year if they manage to produce a surplus.
- Since first starting the programme in 2016, more than 1500 families have registered with the programme, and are bee-keeping from one or more hives.
- In 2017, African Honey Bee purchased five tons of honey from 120 beekeepers in the area at R50 per kg.
- The honey, once harvested by the local communities is packaged and sold throughout South Africa in a Fair Trade agreement.
In 2017 a school awareness programme taught children how to work with bees using controlled fires (smokers) and protective clothing and also taught them how bee-keeping can lead to income generation.
Click here to download free children's books from African Honey Bee
Visit the African Honey Bee Website to learn more.