Honeybush tea has a long history of traditional use, but also holds significant future potential.
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.
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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 (DSI,
wearing white) and Dr Cecilia Bester (ARC, on the right) 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.