ENTREPRENEURSHIP

BEE farming

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The Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch, Conrad Sidego is proud to announce the launch of a special Bee Farming initiative at the Timberlea Farm which attracted investment to the region while also creating much needed jobs.

A local entrepreneur, Loyiso Mbete who is 33 years old and from Kayamandi, identified a gap in the market for honey and negotiated with the owners of Timberlea Farms to start his own business. Bee Farming has become a very lucrative economic activity to provide much needed income for local communities. Mbete who holds a Diploma in Management from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology worked as a Sales Support Assistant in the financial services sector.

There is a great need for honey worldwide and the practice of bee farming is widespread throughout the world: not only is honey produced but honeybees are kept on farms and fruit and vegetable farmers totally depend on honeybees for crop fertilization. Loyiso started his business in 2009 with 80 hives which he bought from his own savings. He then realised that he needed some more skills to take the business forward and approached the Department of Agriculture for assistance. In 2013 he was trained and received financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture to the amount of approximately R680 000.

This is a sterling example of entrepreneurship. Loyiso made his venture a success in a very short space of time. He has shown that he has the tenacity to be a successful entrepreneur. This is the type of entrepreneurs that can make a difference in their communities. Loyiso aims to establish a Honey Factory if he obtains the necessary support. There is an opportunity for possible partnerships that can be explored. Sidego said that he is “extremely proud of this project and the willingness shown by Loyiso. The Municipality can make opportunities available but it is people like Loyiso that turns them into magic. This heralds Stellenbosch as a preferred destination for business and investment and also illustrates just how innovative our region is.”

According to Casidra, research has shown that the current demand for honey far exceeds the supply. The consumer demand calls for an increase in production of honey in order to meet the internal (South African) demand. This demand is currently being met by Chinese honey, which has been banned by the European Union for substandard quality. Besides honey, the bee also produces a range of other products which provides the beekeeper with additional income. If one takes into consideration the aforementioned, there is no doubt that this entrepreneur would be able to provide much needed job opportunities to the local community. In the current phase the business will provide 3 jobs and once value adding is done, it will avail another 8 jobs.

Key stakeholders in the honey industry includes; the Department of Agriculture (sponsor), Anglo American, Wesgro, Woolworths, SEDA, Cence, Stellenbosch Black Business Unity, Ubusi Epiculture, Greater Stellenbosch Tourism Trust, Timberlea Farm and the Stellenbosse Landbougenootskap.

 

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