ERP Honey’s Madikwe project takes flight, promising income generation and food security for ERP’s beneficiary community, a growth in the local bee population, and protection for sensitive trees.
Beehive fencing is a field-proven means of mitigating human-elephant conflict, and reducing damage to crops and trees. ERP has this initiative underway in 3 parts of South Africa. Honey provides a source of income to communities managing hives, and there are environmental benefits in growing the bee population.
ERP Honey, an impact investment business, is led by Portia Morudi, managing fieldwork, providing training and production support, and a guaranteed market for ERP’s honey producers. ERP Honey’s newest community-based project is adjacent to South Africa’s 5th largest conservation area, where ERP has long-term rights on community-owned land, soon to house an ERP-established and run rhino sanctuary.
The Madikwe beehive project is now underway in earnest, with the first 14 candidate beekeepers – all currently unemployed community members – trained, and 180 of a planned 200 beehives deployed to date. The hives are located on what is now known as the ERP Melorane Game Reserve, in a wooded area along a river bank. In addition to the rhino sanctuary, the reserve will soon become home to elephants, so taking steps now to protect sensitive and environmentally- or culturally-important trees, is prudent. During the training, and prior to deploying the hives to the target areas, Portia was delighted to see that bees had already begun populating the hives.
Also at Madikwe, Portia is planning a ‘food forest’, to be located near the hives. It will serve the dual purposes of forage for the bees, and to grow fresh food and vegetables to stock an ERP food bank for the benefit of the indigent and aged, in the local community.
ERP-branded honey will be available from November at Food Lovers Market, a leading South African food retailer. This honey includes stock produced by ERP Honey’s first community-based project designed to mitigate human-elephant conflict, for the benefit of a rural community near South Africa’s border with Mozambique.