Nursery owners hone their skills

by Engela Duvenage


NurseryCourse2020-web.jpgSuch was the interest in a short course about various aspects related to the management of honeybush nurseries that it was fully booked within a week.

The one-day course was held on 25 November 2020 at the Thornham Community Hall, close to Storms River in the Eastern Cape, and attracted beginners as well as more experienced honeybush nursery managers.

The course was presented by Dr Cecilia Bester of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) in Stellenbosch, who has been involved in research into the best possible propagation methods for honeybush since 2012.


The previous such course was presented in 2017. The support of nurseries in rural areas where honeybush is harvested, either from the wild or on farms, is a key focus area of the DSI/ARC Honeybush Project. The project, which is implemented by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), provides scientific expertise and training to rural communities where honeybush is cultivated and/or harvested.

Dr Bester took attendees through important steps involved in the propagation of honeybush seedlings and cuttings, both theoretically and practically. Different nursery structures were discussed.

“Having a constant supply of seedlings and cuttings available to be planted on participating farms is essential to the growth and sustainability of the honeybush industry, and a most important part of the value chain. In this, nurseries play an extremely important role. The better these are managed, and the more know how that nursery owners have, the better,” says Dr Bester. “Even though times may be tough in the industry, it is important that we are prepared for when the market turns and have plant material available.”

The National Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) supported five community members of Thornham to attend the course. Their funding also allowed for Dr Bester to present it.

The course was attended by 20 participants from across the honeybush region – from Napier in the west and Patensie in the east, to the Langkloof area, the Outeniqua area around Herold and isolated farms north of Wittedrift near Plettenberg Bay.

Among the participants were ten women, and 7 were younger than 35 years of old. All participants received a certificate to acknowledge their participation.