R2.7m Funding granted for sustainable use and harvesting of Honeybush tea sector - News | DEA&DP

R2.7m Funding granted for sustainable use and harvesting of Honeybush tea sector

21 December 2022

Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning congratulated the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP) and the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve for funding secured from ABioSA amounting to R2.7 million to implement the Honeybush Sector Plan.

Emerging in the wake of the already successful rooibos industry, Honeybush tea is seen as a key opportunity for economic development. The DEA&DP already implements the Provincial Biodiversity Economy Strategy (PBES) which focus on the development of jobs and livelihoods through the sustainable use of indigenous natural products such as Honeybush, aloe, rooibos, wildflowers and Sceletium.

Minister Bredell said: “Currently about 70-80% of Honeybush is harvested in the wild from the Western and Eastern Cape provinces. We therefore must ensure that it is not over-harvested and that the natural habitats in which it occurs are not damaged so that communities can benefit in a sustainable manner from its proceeds.”

Bredell added that, “to ensure our natural indigenous species are sustainably used and protected, the Head of Component Biodiversity Management, Albert Ackhurst, developed the Honeybush Community of Practice (HCoP) in 2016 and co-chaired it together with the Eastern Cape. This ensures that all involved in the Honeybush industry actively work towards sustainable harvest, legal compliance, protection of the natural habitat and ensures that transformation takes place through the beneficiation of emergent farmers and participants in the Honeybush tea industry.”

The HCoP is also an integral member of the national team that worked on the Honeybush Sector Development Plan (SDP), an initiative by the National Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) and funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to strengthen bioprospecting, biotrade and Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) of indigenous genetic resources.

Through discussion and deliberation, the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve (GRBR) was ideally placed in the landscape to take on this task and applied for the funding to take on the implementation of key deliverables of the SDP and the H-BMP. The Department supports five provincial biosphere reserves with operational funding and oversight as there are significant alignments with sustainability and socio-economic objectives.

GIZ ABS Compliant Biotrade in South(ern) Africa confirmed to the CEO of the GRBR, Dr. Bianca Currie on 30 November 2022, that the grant was approved by the ABioSA technical assessment team in collaboration with Kruger Swart and Associates (KSA) for the approximate amount of R2.7 million. “The sustainable utilization of Honeybush tea has the potential to create numerous jobs in both the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces of South Africa, and if properly managed can contribute to the equitable and sustainable development of the region.  This work epitomizes what the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve aims to achieve in the landscape, and we are thankful for support from GIZ and the work done by our partners in seeing the honeybush sector plan come to fruition” said Dr. Bianca Currie.

The DEA&DP Biodiversity Management unit, together with the HCoP has successfully developed and implemented guidelines for the sustainable harvesting of Honeybush and produced special harvester field guides in English and Afrikaans.

Marlene Laros, Director for Biodiversity and Coastal Management, explained that the inclusive growth of the biodiversity economy will enable transformative approaches to meeting priorities in job creation and economic growth through exports while ensuring that the resource is sustainably managed and benefits equitably shared.

The following resources are available:

  1. Honeybush BMP
  2. Sustainable Harvesting of Wild Honeybush_field guide_Afrikaans
  3. Sustainable Harvesting of Wild Honeybush_field guide_English
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