Nursery owners hone their skills
by Engela Duvenage
was the interest in a short course about various aspects related to the
management of honeybush nurseries that it was fully booked within a week.
The one-day course was held
on 25 November 2020 at the Thornham Community Hall, close to Storms River in
the Eastern Cape, and attracted beginners as well as more experienced honeybush
The course was presented by
Dr Cecilia Bester of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) in Stellenbosch,
who has been involved in research into the best possible propagation methods
for honeybush since 2012.
The previous such course was presented in 2017.
of nurseries in rural areas where honeybush is harvested, either from the wild
or on farms, is a key focus area of the DSI/ARC Honeybush Project. The project, which
is implemented by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), provides scientific
expertise and training to rural communities where honeybush is cultivated
Bester took attendees through important steps involved in the propagation of
honeybush seedlings and cuttings, both theoretically and practically. Different
nursery structures were discussed.
“Having a constant supply
of seedlings and cuttings available to be planted on participating farms is
essential to the growth and sustainability of the honeybush industry, and a
most important part of the value chain. In this, nurseries play an extremely
important role. The better these are managed, and the more know how that
nursery owners have, the better,” says Dr Bester. “Even though times may be
tough in the industry, it is important that we are prepared for when the market
turns and have plant material available.”
National Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) supported five community
members of Thornham to attend the course. Their funding also allowed for Dr
Bester to present it.
The course was attended by
20 participants from across the honeybush region – from Napier in the west and
Patensie in the east, to the Langkloof area, the Outeniqua area around Herold
and isolated farms north of Wittedrift near Plettenberg Bay.
Among the participants were
ten women, and 7 were younger than 35 years of old. All participants received a
certificate to acknowledge their participation.