Loyiso Hives, helping to keep the Western Cape buzzing
Kayamandi’s local entrepreneur, Loyiso Mbete, started ‘Loyiso Hives” back in 2011. With just 80 hives, he set out on his mission to pollinate local farms. Realising that he may need more hives, he approached the Department of Agriculture. They invested an additional 150 hives with his already 80 functioning hives. Mbete now has hives on 9 different fruit farms across the Western Cape that pollinate the surrounding flora every year.
Why are bees so important?
Bees are extremely vital to a healthy economy and a healthy environment. Bees provide a stable and healthy food supply. They aid in the growth and production of plants within our ecosystems. However, bees are in danger- from loss of habitat, the effects of climate change and exposure to pesticides.
Mbete's model is mainly just to pollinate the farms, but as being an entrepreneur, he has a few exciting things on the go! By keeping things simple, all he has to do is move them to where they need to work their magic. “We drop them off for pollination season, and they pay me to have the bees there. I then allow another person to go and extract the honey from the hives in the season. They then pay me per frame. There are about ten frames per hive”.
How has it helped the local farms?
“Yes, a lot of them are commercial farmers and really see the benefit of having my bees on their farm. We are doing extremely well and getting great results. Over all the years, we actually never really had a problem, they have always outperformed.”
What made you start Loyiso Hives?
Well, originally, it was to start a business, but as it progressed, it started to inspire me more and more. If we don’t have bees, we are not going to be able to have any food. They are so important.
What are your Super Powers?
I see potential in people, myself, and Africa. South Africa is alive with possibility.
What do you love about Africa?
I love Africa. It is such a great continent filled with diversity. I am a believer in diversity, and if we were all the same, it would be boring. I am inspired by our diversity here in Africa. We all have a role to inspire each other to be great.
What made you take the step into the unknown to become an entrepreneur?
There is a term in my language- “wake up and do it yourself”. That has always inspired me. I am inspired by the fact that things can happen if you make them happen. I’m a very innovative person, and it’s great to see when you give someone a product, and they like it!
Mbete hopes that in the future, he can teach young entrepreneurs to care for these hives, extract the honey and allow another company to consolidate and package the product. He aims to create a symbiotic relationship, not only with the bees and local farmers, but various parts of the industry to aid young local entrepreneurs. “You have to be someone that is willing to work hard. Beekeeping isn’t always that easy. You have to work at night and be willing to get dirty! As well as understanding how the bees operate”.
Where do you see the hives in a few years?
It will change into a proper honey-making business. Our aim is to get a product out of the hives, but it will no longer be solely mine. It will be for the people; I want to create mico bee-keepers. I want this project to create a sustainable model within the industry to create more employment.