By: Tebogo Mokwena
Manufacturing and dealing in honey is so lucrative that it cost Teko Nhlapo and his partner, Kenneth Ndadza, less than R2000 to get a beehive and produce almost ten times the amount in profit. Nhlapo who advocates for bee farming, also said that the barriers to entry were low. However, it did require dedication and focus. Nhlapo said that the honey farm Radinotshi Boerdery taught him that there was a lot of profit in bee farming. “We needed R1150 to buy one beehive, and with that one box we can get 15kg of honey which can bring a profit of up to R17600,” he told Vutivi News.
“We took money from our own pockets and bought what was needed.” The business, which is based in Tshwane, started in 2018 and formalised the following year. “We funded the business through friends, various sources, and our own pockets,” he said. Nhlapo said that the advantage of bee farming was that you did not actively feed them. “All one needs to do is to place them strategically on a field that is close to water, where they can pollinate and produce honey.,” he said.
“I’m also drawn to honey because knowing that most of the food we eat was made possible by bees makes me feel like I am an integral part of the agricultural value chain. “I also know that by farming bees, I am contributing to the fight against bee endangerment,” Nhlapo said that he used to place his beehives on commercial farms to pollinate, but that proved harmful to his business.
“When the farm wants to spray pesticides, they only warn you the night before, and when you get the time to remove them the damage has already been done,” he said. “It did make us a lot of money because pollinating one sunflower field yields about two tonnes of honey,” Nhlapo said that he now placed the boxes on smaller farms where there was less risk of pesticides. The honey is processed by another company, where it is bottled and packaged. They sell their honey online in 200g and 500g jars and are planning on making honey sachets.
Nhlapo also said that he had incorporated planting native plant species for bees to pollinate. “I am doing this because I want to incorporate the flavours of honey into the honey,” he said. “We will also be travelling across Africa where our aim is to promote honey as a healthy alternative to sugar.”