Research

photo courtesy South African Honeybush Tea Association

photo courtesy South African Honeybush Tea Association

During our exceptional journey, we had the privilege of meeting and working with many researchers from universities and organisations throughout South Africa involved in honeybush tea research. We welcome these dedicated researchers as they introduce us to many ideas and environmentally friendly farming practices. These are regularly incorporated to reduce our environmental footprint. Since 1994 dr. Hannes de Lange from Oudtshoorn, did research on different honeybush tea species on our farm. This research dealt with issues surrounding pollination, breeding, sustainable farming practices, as well as the processing of honeybush tea. He also played a significant role in establishing a protocol for the stimulation of seed germination. Virtually no germination is found with untreated seed due to its extremely hard and impermeable seed coat. Without his research we would not have come this far with our tea business. As a result of this research and all the trials and errors, we are in a unique position to make decisions regarding our future in this industry, specifically about the size of our company and the number of hectares of tea we plant and the volumes of tea we produce, harvest and process. Our production is dependent on the demand for our tea and we have enough farming land and means to expand our business to satisfy a need from South Africa and abroad.

Currently, we have an entomology M.Sc. student from Stellenbosch University that is doing part of her research field work in our honeybush plantations. Her research focuses on insects found on honeybush; in the wild as well as in cultivation. This would hopefully provide us with valuable information regarding the protection of insects and the impact they have on insect pests on honeybush plants and indicate means to preserve the delicate natural balance as found in nature. (The spraying of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals is a taboo in our plantations.) Many other research studies on different aspects of honeybush tea are currently in progress (as seen on http://www.sahoneybush.co.za/research.html). We are looking forward to the final findings and we value all contributions, as it is such a new industry.