2002 Winner
Gauteng Province, South Africa
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
South Africa
The Departments of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Social Development and Agriculture commissioned the Plant Protection Research Institute of the Agricultural Research Council to introduce beekeeping to rural disadvantaged communities as part of their Poverty Relief Programme. This nationwide programme is designed to assist poor communities to be entrepreneurial within the honeybee industry. People are assisted through capacity and skills development, income generation and the propagation of self-sustainability. The Programme targets previously disadvantaged women, youth, elderly and people with disabilities. It involves a participatory approach, as skills transfer is important.

Innovation: BPRP formulated a framework to address sustainability and empowerment of the participants through crosscutting issues such as resource, urban and rural development, basic needs and environment. The programme starts with a feasibility study followed by a planning process in which representatives of both farmers and extension officers are included. This is followed by an intensive training course presented to the government field staff responsible for each project site. The mentorship phase ensures that expertise is developed in all aspects of practical beekeeping and in the handling and marketing of hive products. The development team provides support services through project management and management of investor's funds and equip field workers to transfer their skills to prospective beekeepers. Producers are taught to process honey without commercial modern technology.

Effectiveness: With the funding from the Poverty Relief Funds, beekeeping has been introduced to over 500 people and the Programme has been implemented in 35 rural and peri-urban areas. The initiative is succeeding in developing optimal, sustainable and renewable usage of all available resources to result in entrepreneurial development. One requirement is that there has to be support from the community for the associations formed. This is important for the capacity development of officials and allows for opportunities to create additional impact from the project, e.g. a sewing group to make protective clothing, carpenters from the disabled group make hives and women make broaches. In 2001, 30 rural beekeepers attended Apimondia 2001, an international congress for beekeepers. In 2002, INYOSI honey was developed for the branding of BPRP. The Programme's success is largely due to the commitment demonstrated by those involved that include government officials and private organizations. The programme implementation in 3 projects has been selected by Gauteng to be showcased at the World Summit for Sustainable Development as one of the best practices in the "Greening the WSSD" initiative. BPRP beekeeping is also used as an occupational therapy. This initiative is a success because it requires low capital outlay, addresses the high demand and low supply of honey-related products, is environmentally friendly and creates financial independence. Poverty

Poverty Impact: Poverty stricken areas are faced with the danger of low food security and availability of basic needs due to low or no income. By assisting these people to become entrepreneurs, these issues are addressed. Apiculture is also not labour intensive and therefore is ideal for the target group who also has other responsibilities. Beneficiaries own all the hive products they produce. These are used for either home consumption or for sale to the public. Groups also hire themselves our for bee removal services at R200 per removal. A group in the Eastern Cape has already banked R2000 this way. 12 groups around Umtata received an average of 40 hives and by the end of July 2002 they will harvest 3000kg of honey that will earn them between R50 000-R70 000. Many crafts can be produced for and from the hive products.

Sustainability: Costs involved in training 500 people and starting 35 businesses amount to R5 million, but include all training, protective equipment, extracting and packaging equipment. All processing equipment will last at least 20 years. BPRP is also a continued self-funding programme.

Replication: This initiative can be replicated anywhere, as honeybees are a free and accessible resource. All that is needed is funds for training and equipment.