Renowned battery brand SABAT® Battery’s partnership with African Honey Bee and Rhino Pride is set to assist with the poverty cycles in severely disadvantaged rural communities in South Africa. Simultaneously, African Honey Bee is set to further sustainable, climate-smart and environmental solutions in the country.

The project, headed by the non-profit Khanyisani Trust, enables families from severely disadvantaged rural communities in South Africa to build sustainable, small-scale micro-beekeeping businesses using environmentally friendly and ethical practices. African Honey Bee is being rolled out over 10 years so that a minimum of 6,000 families nationwide can benefit from it.

Participants, called  “Honeybee Guardians”, are trained to keep and protect honeybees in a natural and sustainable way and incentivised to look after the honeybees, as they can reap the raw honey produced and earn some additional income.

Proof of the potential of African Honey Bee is the fact that similar projects have already yielded positive results. For example, by 2020, over 400 “honey hunters” were converted into beekeepers and about 1,600 families trained, of which 400 kept 800 hives of honeybees that produced 15 tons of honey.  Further, by 2018, families had collectively earned R750,000 and have also started growing vegetables in tower gardens, producing eggs and free-range broilers in self-made mobile enclosures, and growing fruit trees.

Besides the positive impact that the project will have on underprivileged communities, it will also play a key role in environmental conservation. Honeybees are an endangered species in South Africa due to stress caused by many factors including incorrect beekeeping practices. In turn, this trend is a threat to biodiversity and conservation and threatens food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable socio-economic growth.

However, if nurtured, bees can thrive in arid conditions due to a diversity of desert plants

that provide large amounts of nectar while competing for pollination.

AutoX sales and marketing executive, Corne Strydom, says that the company’s support of the project is in line with its commitment to community sustainability and upliftment. 

“SABAT ® is committed to uplifting communities by providing real and sustainable solutions that empowers people and provides them with the means to improve their socio-economic circumstances.

“We are therefore proud to support African Honey Bee solutions, as their initiative is wholeheartedly fulfilling these aims. By ensuring that families in impoverished communities are provided with the skills and resources to protect endangered bees, they are not only securing a better financial future for themselves but a more sustainable world.”

Honeybee Guardian families are supported by their self-help savings groups with cash flow assisting food production that provides income throughout the year. The production of additional food reduces the cost of living, improves the nutrition and health of the community, and ultimately enables the communities to be resilient in times of crisis.

The founder of African Honey Bee, Guy Stubbs, concludes that the project is designed to ensure that communities are self-sustainable.

“Our model works in the long term and it is noteworthy that families using this methodology are not only surviving the onslaught of Covid-19, but many of them are also flourishing as they are self-reliant and now see opportunities that they did not have before.”

“Ultimately, this project won’t only ensure long-term solutions for the families, but it will also take the pressure off total dependency on the honeybees when honey production is the only activity. This method of beekeeping reduces the spread of diseases, enables honeybees to be protected sustainably and derives long-term benefits.”

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