The official launch of SIOC-CDT’s Honey Production Project took place on 27 July 2023 in Kathu. The Project (which is the first of its kind for SIOC-CDT) is modelled to develop and support both new and existing players in the honey production and beekeeping sector. Tailored to benefit Agri-prenuers from the beneficiary areas of Johan Taolo Gaetsewe District and Tsantsabane local municipalities. The 30 selected beneficiaries were announced at the event.
With an in-depth understanding of both the industry, Bokamosa Impact Investments have partnered with SIOC-CDT as an implementing agent to help the identified beneficiaries to take advantage of the high demand and shortage of supply in the honey industry. Bokamoso Investments is a social enterprise dedicated to connecting the impoverished rural populations of South Africa to economic opportunities using diverse agricultural and entrepreneurial platforms as change catalysts. Whilst the South African beekeeping industry is relatively small both globally and in the South African agricultural sector, the critical importance of honeybees in agricultural practices and conservation in general, far exceeds the current value of the industry. There is an opportunity with this Project to alleviate poverty in rural areas and provide an ongoing source of income whilst developing the beekeeping industry in the Northern Cape province, with the JTG and Tsantsabane local municipality as significant players.
By developing bee colonies, producing hives, extracting honey and promoting pollination, the Honey Production Project will also be able to empower previously disadvantaged communities in the local beneficiary communities.
The thirty (30) selected beneficiary Agri-prenuers will be supported with the required resources to start-up and maintain honey production businesses. This support includes access to land, setting up of hives, honey extraction and bottling. Bokamoso Impact Investments will purchase the honey from these beneficiaries and trade in the export market. In the long-term, a strategy to attract other markets will be implemented through competitive pricing.
The beneficiaries will undergo training in two groups of fifteen, planned to start in the first week of August 2023. The groups will be put on a business readiness programme aimed to introduce the emerging beekeepers to the fundamentals of business management, providing insight that will increase participants knowledge to develop their Agri-businesses into commercial businesses. They will have the chance to learn from experts and entrepreneurs from across Africa, Israel, Europe and America and gain real-world knowledge which is useful to the growth of their businesses. Post training, beneficiaries will receive all the necessary equipment to set-up beehives and begin harvesting their own honey. Each business will receive 60 hives, bee-keeping tools as well as beekeeping suits and a seed pack to plant vegetation required by bees.
It is estimated that one hive can produce about 15kg of honey in a season (3 months). To achieve this, the correct management of hives will be required and consistent maintenance of the crops from the seeds provided to enable the bees to forage. The businesses will receive consistent support with bi-monthly visits from SIOC-CDT Enterprise Development officials to monitor the progress of the business along with the support from the SEDA Cadet Programme. Bokamoso Impact Investments will conduct quarterly visits for purposes of monitoring and evaluation, ensuring that the management of the beekeeping businesses is up to standard.
“SIOC-CDT will use its robust and agile platforms to engage with stakeholders outside of the beneficiary communities,” says Vusani Malie, CEO of SIOC-CTD. “This will ensure that the local businesses are well promoted to increase their market share and not to limit the established beekeeping businesses to a single market. With consistent support, SMMEs are almost guaranteed to produce quality products which will help develop a viable honey production industry in the Northern Cape, including the production of honey products and bi-products such as wax, candles, firelighters, etc.”
SIOC Community Development Trust (SIOC-CDT) was established in 2006 by Sishen Iron Ore Company (SIOC) (Pty) Ltd to invest in the uplifting of the communities in which the mining company operates in the Northern Cape and Limpopo. We invest significantly in community development projects aimed at ensuring sustainability beyond mining operations.
SIOC-CDT has substantiated its stated intention of “defining ourselves through actions, not our words” by investing over R1 billion in socio-economic and community development projects in its beneficiary communities; Gamagara, Tsantsabane, Ga-Segonyana and Joe Morolong in the Northern Cape, as well as Thabazimbi in Limpopo.
SIOC-CDT’s Enterprise Development strategy is based on three fundamental approaches to supporting businesses across its beneficiary communities – to provide access to funding, access to markets and provision to business development support to ensure development and sustainability.