Limpopo Beekeepers let's Unite- South Africa

The newly formed Limpopo Beekeeping Industry Association has opened up a call for all Limpopo based beekeepers to join their association.

In most provinces, there are organizational or institutional structures that represent hobbyists, small holder and commercial beekeepers. They provide forums to mobilize participation, disseminate information, help to express and address industry concerns as well as stimulating market development. However, for Limpopo Province it has been 25 years of government investment into apiary projects without industry structure to absorb and stimulate capacity for further growth. This is confirmed by findings of a report tabled by the IDC in 2016, stating that “Most smallholder beekeeping developmental projects are characterized by ineffective organizational structures for collective action.”

South Africa is estimated to consume approximately 4 000 tons of honey per year, while the country only produces around 2 000 tons per annum. This situation results in a demand deficit of approximately 2 000 tons per year. The local honey industry, according to Conservation South Africa (CSA), has an average annual turnover of R3.2 billion. However, the pollination, honey, and beeswax industry in the country is worth R20 billion.

“The core volume of our anticipated membership are not necessarily business strategist who have their pulse on government related development opportunities - neither are they necessarily resourced to present a satisfying business plan that will secure investment into their apiary ventures. Instead, most of them are grassroots beekeepers engaged with beekeeping to help fend off hunger and poverty. Yet, they operate within the context of enormous economic opportunity”, says Riaan Hendricks - founder of the Limpopo Bee Industry Association. “We must make a concerted effort to create a support enabling environment that seeks to increase the level of industry participation and market share of beekeepers from historically marginalized communities. Other than this development objective, our vision is to unify the Beekeeping industry and to speak in one voice on matters affecting us."

Uwe Kutu, a smallholder/developmental beekeeper who joined up with the Association says he “applauds the vision". Uwe has been working with his family for the past 3 years at local community level in Modimolle, trying to identify agricultural practices that are accessible to ordinary South Africans and don’t require a significant capital outlay. “Beekeeping presents such an opportunity”, says Uwe, “where the barriers of entry are fairly low and with the right training, support and network, emerging beekeepers can pool their resources to gain access into the growing market and value chain.”

Kgorutlhe Maakamedi is one such emerging beekeeper from Mokopane who joined. With only four hives, he has his sights set on growing into a fully self sustainable commercial venture. “There are not many beekeepers that I can interact with around my area with challenges that I come across”. Even on such a small scale, it is vandalism of his hives that frustrates Kgorutlhe.

Kamohelo Mofokeng, from Tzaneen has 100 beehives. He too joined the Association after suffering major losses to his bee colonies due to poisons used for crop irrigation. Schalk van Dyk, who also recently joined the association, attributes Kamohelo's losses to “a lack of communication between stakeholders within the agricultural sector.” He hopes the association will be able to play a constructive role in finding a middle ground between the needs of the beekeepers and that of the farmers.

The Association plans to have a chapter in all 5 districts of Limpopo Province.

“Through strategic partnership and stakeholder engagement, we aim to develop the full apiculture potential of the Province and harvest the benefits thereof to counter unemployment, provide food security, stimulate entrepreneurship and have a positive impact on the agricultural industry and our national economy at large.” Says Hendricks.

The Limpopo Bee Industry Association can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 076 483 0502.