Sarah Baartman Honey Bee Trust (SBHBT), which is funded as part of the
Enterprise Development Programme of the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, is well on its
way to success.
The beekeepers, who are Trustees of the SBHBT, which was launched a year ago, has already completed their first two harvests in January and will be operating 500 beehives by the end of this year.
An exciting development in this programme is the relocation of hives from Patensie, Loerie and Baviaanskloof to the Hankey area, in the Kouga Local Municipality.
“We are moving the hives, in order for the beekeepers, which predominantly live in Hankey, in the Kouga Local Municipality, to easily access the hives, without the added cost and hassle of arranging transport,” explained Marion Green-Thompson, Economic Development Manager for the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.
In addition to the active 300 hives that will soon all be settled in areas around Hankey, an additional 100 hives have been manufactured and another 100 are being delivered from the canola fields in the Southern Cape.
Moving hives is a delicate operation as bees can get stressed and hot if transported during the day. Therefore, the hives are secured and moved at night, after the bees have returned at nightfall.
Once the hives have been relocated and the bees settle, the productive hives will be split to increase the number of active hives and make use of the currently empty structures. The beekeepers in fact, built 100 of these hives themselves, making use of recycled wood from industrial pallets, which were donated by local companies.
The beekeepers trust not only provides for the development of skills and training but also sees to funding of equipment. 40 Beekeepers started on the programme and over time 17 developed an affinity for bees and are now committed to programme and registered members of the trust.
This is an extraordinary enterprise development programme, initiated and sponsored by the wind farm, which has empowered and created a commercial opportunity for members of the local community, whom were previously unemployed or seasonally employed.
About the Sarah Baartman Honey Bee Trust
The beekeepers have registered as commercial beekeepers with the South African Bee Industry Organisation (SABIO) and have been equipped with the necessary tools, equipment and skills to operate successfully as commercial beekeepers.
Some of the harvested honey is being distributed to the local market and being sold to bulk honey buyers, who then process it and resell it in the retail industry.
However, the trust has developed its own brand and intends to soon package and market their produce themselves. This will ultimately increase their profit margins.