Celebrating the honeybush

Honeybush tea is a young, but growing industry unique to South Africa.

For more than 20 years the ARC has conducted honeybush tea research, leading to the release of commercial honeybush seeds to the industry in 2013. The ARC’s research could also open the way to developing the crop to support job creation throughout its value chain.

According to Sidney le Fleur of the Ericaville community, they had limited understanding on how to farm with honeybush before the ARC’s involvement.

“We would work in trial and error. The ARC assisted with the introduction of a honeybush guidebook that helped with scientific and practical know-how,” said Le Fleur.

The ARC recently held a honeybush celebration day to honour the humbling beginnings of this growing industry. At the event, Joyene Isaacs, head of department for Western Cape agriculture, highlighted the importance honeybush to the province.

“The development of honeybush as a commercial crop is a process of many years, with many role players and interested parties. Commercialization of this product presents an opportunity to explore other indigenous crops to the benefit of big and small industries,” said Isaacs.

To show its support and commitment to the honeybush industry the Western Cape agriculture department allocated R1 million for further research on the plant.