Cyclopia maculata, the honeybush from South Africa’s Genadendal region

An indigenous knowledge project is helping a South African community to get better returns from a herbal tea plant. Farmers living near the town of Genadendal are learning how to produce honeybush species Cyclopia maculata in a sustainable manner, and to earn revenue from the tea’s growing popularity in overseas markets. “We believe that the specific type of honeybush that grows naturally in the Genadendal area holds significant economic potential that can be unlocked to the benefit of the local community”, said Professor Lizette Joubert from the Agricultural Research Council.

Scientists are documenting the health properties of the local honeybush and identifying niche markets. South Africa produces about 200 t of honeybush each year, most of it exported to Europe. Working closely with the Genadendal Small Farmers’ Association, researchers have set up a demonstration plot and are developing guidelines for nursery operations, farming practices and processing.There are plans to add value to the honeybush by developing extracts for the food and cosmetics industries.

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