Beekeeping for Poverty Relief™ Programme has been designed to help people to
help themselves. The programme is a joint venture between the ARC-Plant
Protection Research Institute and the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of
Social Development and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The Beekeeping for Poverty Relief™ Programme (BPRP) started in
April 2001, and has achieved considerable success. The success of the programme
is largely due to the interest and commitment demonstrated by those involved,
this includes government officials, on a national and regional level, as well as
various private organisations contributing to the sustainability of the
The BPRP formulated a framework for integrated development to
address sustainability and empowerment of programme participants through
crosscutting issues such as rural and urban development, basic needs,
environmental management and gender and resource development. The programme
assists poor communities to be entrepreneurial within the honeybee industry.
With the funding from the Poverty Relief Funds of
government the ARC has introduced beekeeping to over 500 people from 35
communities. Previously disadvantaged people of South Africa had limited
exposure to beekeeping while, around them and on their tribal land, beekeepers
utilised the natural resources for their commercial beekeeping operations.
The programme has proved its objective to develop optimal,
sustainable and renewable usage of all available resources and this resulted in
entrepreneurial development. This was proven when the programme received the
Platinum Award from the Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust.
The ultimate goal of the programme is not merely to expand current projects, but also to promote developmental beekeeping in communities in all provinces in the country. It is our conviction that once developmental beekeeping becomes established in the rural communities, it will be difficult to cope with the flood of requests for this programme.
Communities are empowered to utilize the natural resources that are in their
They learn how to manage, take care off and make money from the resources in
their own environment.
Beekeeping is probably the only form of agriculture with an overwhelmingly positive impact on the natural environment. It is a valuable conservation tool, allowing people to derive economic benefit from indigenous forests and other floral resources in a non-destructive way, ensuring local participation in conservation efforts. It also makes a very significant contribution to other forms of agriculture by effecting the pollination of many economically important plants.
The implementation team has an intimate knowledge not
only of southern African honeybee its biology and beekeeping methods, but also
of the functioning of the industry.
The ARC- Beekeeping Development
Program team is therefore uniquely able to assist beneficiaries become
successful, commercial beekeepers within a flourishing industry.
To achieve this objective, several specific interventions are
directed at the industry itself, to increase the opportunity for new entrants to
become commercially successful.
A marketing platform is in place for the exclusive (but
optional) use of the beneficiaries of the Beekeeping Development Program. The
key element is the INYOSI HONEY™ brand. The necessary trademark registration
applications have been filed and provisionally approved to secure exclusive
commercial rights to the phrase "inyosi honey" and various other elements of the
INYOSI HONEY™ brand. These exclusive rights extend not only to honey, but also
to other commercial activities relating to the beekeeping industry.
All products marketed under the INYOSI HONEY™ brand are
accredited as "Proudly South African", and may carry the "Proudly South
African" logo. INYOSI HONEY™ products are currently the only hive products
accredited as "Proudly South
Beekeeping groups with ready access to
markets are encouraged to purchase, package and sell honey from more
remote groups. This prevents beekeepers from losing their hard-earned markets
when they have no honey of their own to sell. It also ensures that a range of
different honeys from different floral sources and parts of the country is
available for sale. In this way, the various groups become dependent on one
another, and potentially destructive internal competition is minimised.
Beekeeping groups have complete freedom to choose how, where,
to whom, and under what label they wish to sell their products. However,
agreements are in place with commercial packers, stipulating fair floor
prices, for any beekeeping groups that might not be able to establish any
A high-volume processing and packaging facility for hive
products is presently being set up in Umtata to service the groups nearby. This
facility will be owned and operated by the local beekeeping groups. This
facility will give beekeepers access to equipment, storage and handling
facilities that will allow them to compete with other beekeepers around the
world. This model will be replicated wherever the densities of beekeepers and
production volumes increase to warrant it.
A provisional agreement has been reached with Grahamstown
Brewery (Pty) Ltd that should result in the production, under license, of
iQhilika African Mead at the Umtata processing facility.
INYOSI HONEY™ Tourism Centres and Routes are being
planned in partnership with Honeybee Foundation and Products (see www.beekeeping.com/honeybee-africa
). Drawing on the "Big Pineapple" at Bathurst for inspiration, the program team
envisages the first of these in Umtata, associated with the processing facility.
Great interest is already being shown by at least one tourist operator, Sun and Sandals.
For these initiatives to be successful, it is critical to
develop appropriate business capacity. For this reason, in partnership with
other role players in the local beekeeping industry, a number of additional
opportunities will be presented to the best beekeepers:
Masterclasses will expose new beekeepers to advanced
experiential learning from the most successful commercial beekeepers in South
Apprenticeships will expose selected new beekeepers to
the more successful beekeeping businesses in North America, Europe, Asia and
Australia who are competing successfully in the global industry.
The very best new beekeepers will be selected to visit
international commercial beekeepers
The exit strategy of the Beekeeping Development Program
is envisaged as BEE POWER, a Black Economic Empowerment company that would play
a pivotal role in the South African industry. This would be largely owned by the
beekeeping groups established through the programme. It would manage the
processing, handling, packaging and marketing of the hive products produced by
the member groups for the global market. Note: financing this company would be a
completely separate matter from the funding of the implementation of the
Beekeeping Development Program.