Bee Keeping project
Friends of Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area (FOBWA) near Port-Elizabeth got involved with beekeeping projects in 2009 working with Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency. They received funding from the Global Environmental Fund (GEF) managed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). After a successful project in the Baviaanskloof they received further funding and expanded into other parts of the EC. These projects have struggled and have stalled. As there was funds left over they asked the UNDP if they could work together with the Elundini Community.
Beekeeping is easy to get into initially but can take years to bear fruit and start generating a decent income. In this period the new beekeepers need to keep on working at it and have to catch swarms and build up their broods till they produce enough honey to extract and sell. There are other potential income streams and an example is removing bees from dwellings for a nominal fee. These swarms are then added to the beekeepers stock and so the business is built up.
Friends of Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area provided us with 5 catch hives, brood chambers and supers. Smokers, tools and safety equipment were given as well as training. The first 2 day training session was held on the weekend of the 30th and 31st of May 2015. 8 people from the community attended. The basics of bee keeping were explained and they even caught 2 swarms from underground as practicals. Also 2 bee hives were hung up in the trees to attract bees.
In the mean time another 3 training sessions were held and the group even learned how to make their own hives.
The group has shown persistence in maintaining the beekeeping project and have been able to harvest and sell over R2000 worth of honey in the first year. Normally the first year of beekeeping is not able to harvest honey but their dedication has provided positive results. After training the beneficiaries have also established a second source of income in the extraction of problem bee swarms for a fee in local towns.