Honeybush tea has a long history of traditional use, but also holds significant future potential.
The South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) is investing R5 million in a three-year project (mid-2018 until mid-2021) to support this uniquely South African tea industry. The project, implemented by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), provides training to rural communities where honeybush is cultivated and/or harvested. The project emphasises community development and the
establishment of small, micro and medium enterprises related to honeybush tea. Furthermore, the ARC and its collaborators will focus on plant and product research. With this kind of backing, honeybush tea could become an important niche crop that contributes to meaningful socio-economic development in rural areas.
The project involves small-scale farmers and community
members, as well as researchers and students at the ARC, Stellenbosch
University (SU), Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the
South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).
The research partners focus on the cultivation and
processing of honeybush tea to provide scientific evidence that could
add value to the crop and boost the development of new, value-added
products for local and international markets. The researchers work on
several topics, including:
Dr Aunk Chabalala (DST,
wearing white) and Dr Cecilia Bester (ARC) with the members of Kuyasa Amamfengu
visiting their honeybush plantation.
Dr Aunk Chabalala (left) and Ms Mammone Tang of DSI
(middle, front) visiting the nursery of Sonskyn Heuningbos in Haarlem.