The Rekgaratlhile Honey Bee is a bee farming cooperative based in Skeyfontein, approximately 20km from Postmasburg. The Cooperative is a 100% black women owned and entered Lesedi’s SMME EnD programme in 2019.

Lesedi appointed an agricultural specialist to undertake a thorough assessment of the business which informed the phased approach to supporting the cooperative since 2019.

The business was supported with infrastructure, the supply and installation of Bee-hives with supers, protective clothing and operational capital for the first season.

8 members of the cooperative were mentored and underwent competency training:

  • Basic Health and Safety (First Aid, Fire Fighting and Hazardous Chemical Substance Control)
  • General Business Operations and Basic HR Principles
  • Basic Computer Training
  • Cooperative Governance and
  • Industry Specific Training (Bee Keeping)

The mentor provided coaching on bee keeping and business operations including the purchase of bee swarms, access to market and, assisting the cooperative to utilize their newly acquired skills to make their business more profitable.

Phase 2 of the project included the establishment of a garden for the bees to feed and fencing. The business was also supported with the supply and installation of JoJo tanks to store rainwater, which is used to irrigate the garden during the dry seasons.

The cooperative has since created employment opportunities for 11 local youth as interns. The students’ contracts ended in November 2021 and each of them were deemed competent in the modules they completed during their training. The co-op have retained the services of 3 learners.

Poppy Bantsheng, a project leader at Rekgaratlhile expressed her gratitude to Lesedi for the support the business has received, more especially for capacitating the co-op and enabling transfer of skills to the local youth.

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