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Beekeeping viable business

15 May 2023

Tapping well into beekeeping can be a source of income, employment generation.

This was said by the business executive of Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) for Serowe branch, Mr Mothusi Solomon at Serowe Beekeeping Farmers Association (SBAMA) field day at Mr Samuel Letlhare’s Mabolawa lands farm on Saturday.

Farmers were urged to venture into beekeeping as it was a lucrative business. 

It was said that currently the industry had 227 farmers with 560 colonies in the Central District alone.

Mr Solomon said the district had recorded an increase in honey production in 2020/2021 with 1 769kg, 2021/2 was 2 358.94kg and a decline in the year 2022/3.

“Though the honeybees are best known for the honey they produce, their economic role in nature is to pollinate hundreds and thousands of flowering plants and assure setting of seed fruit,’’ said Mr Solomon.

He said honeybees had been offering services to the society through ensured pollination in cross-pollinated crops as well as by providing honey and a variety of beehive products.

“Raw honey has been used as a remedy throughout history and has a variety of health benefits. 

It has antibacterial and antifungal properties, it’s even used in some hospitals as a treatment for wounds, many of these health benefits are specific to raw honey,’’ he said.

Mr Solomon further stated that opportunities still existed within the beekeeping value chain, which remained untapped such as protective clothing, bee smokers, langstroth hives and skin care products.

The agricultural sector contributes significantly to the socio-economic development of the rural community because of employment creation, he said.

He however said the agricultural sector growth was continuously threatened by pests, disease outbreaks, frequent droughts due to climate change and poor management practices.

The host, Mr Samuel Letlhare said bees needed privacy, noting that aspiring farmers should take time to learn how to start a honey bee farm because it deserved some unique considerations.

Mr Letlhare said he loved honey when he was still young. He started beekeeping in 1992 with one box. 

He now has 20 boxes, each of which brings P1 500 worth of harvest. Bees require water, sun and a sturdy hive, and during some parts of the year, they might require feeding.

‘It is nice to position the hive against a protected fence or tree line if available. 

Bees will fly a long distance every day to find enough pollen. Grasses, trees, herbs, flowers, and weeds produce pollen that is used by bees to feed the hive,’’ he said.

MP for Serowe South, Mr Lesedi Leepetswe applauded farmers at Mabolawa lands for their contribution to the beekeeping industry.

He said the event targeted youth, small holder farmers and aspiring farmers who often experienced challenges, especially marketing in the agricultural sector.

Mr Leepetswe indicated that beekeeping in rural areas could create employment for youth who were struggling to get jobs.

He said beekeeping was a special undertaking because it required less land to establish and it integrated easily with other agricultural projects.

The day was held under theme:  Integrating Beekeeping with Crop Production, an Alternative to Maximising Crop and Honey Production. ENDs

Source : BOPA

Author : Tshiamiso Mosetlha

Location : SEROWE

Event : Serowe Beekeeping Farmers Association field day

Date : 15 May 2023