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Honeybush @ Genadendal

The historical town of Genadendal is the focus of an indigenous knowledge project that aims to establish the town’s small farmers as independent producers of this unique African herbal tea. The project is funded by South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology.

The community at Genadendal has been harvesting and processing a specific species of honeybush that grows naturally in the area – Cyclopia maculata – for many decades. The Genadendal Museum is preserving the historical connection between honeybush and the community by keeping a small plantation and processing their own tea according to traditional methods. They sell small quantities of honeybush tea in the museum shop.

The aim of the Genadendal honeybush project is to help the community to cultivate and harvest Cyclopia maculata successfully (something that has not been achieved to date) so that they can become a significant role player in the formal honeybush industry.

However, honeybush production can be challenging as farming practices vary depending on the species and area. Farmers also need access to seeds or seedlings, knowledge about soil preparation, plantation care/management, harvesting, processing and marketing.

Scientists at the ARC Infruitec Nietvoorbij Research Institute in Stellenbosch are also looking into the specific sensory characteristics and health properties of the honeybush tea grown around Genadendal, as well as its potential to be used in other food products and cosmetics.

Related links:

- Honeybush @ Genadendal photos

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