SOUTH AFRICAN BEE INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT
PRESENTED BY THE CHAIRMAN, DAWID SMIT, AT THE ANNUAL BEE INDUSTRY CONVENTION, 19 JULY
Shortly after the election of the new management for SABlE at the previous annual general meeting during the BeeCon
in Stellenbosch, it became clear that the new management members would be willing to walk quite a few extra miles for the Bee Industry and would put into operation the initiatives, which were already begun as far back as
Consequently the first and most important objective was to finalise the much-discussed reorganisation within the Industry as soon as possible so that the Industry can move forward and not be left hanging somewhere in space. A summary of this reformative process, which we wish to finalise within the next 12 months, would probably be to transform the national industry's organisation from an organisation of organisations of organisations to a single organisation of bee farmers in which direct and personal interaction between Members and Management can take place in order to develop the full potential of the Bee Industry as soon as possible and to utilise it to the advantage of all the roll players.
The effective and timely distribution of the registration forms for 2003 has resulted in about 400 bee farmers already having registered for 2003 as compared to the 240 in 2002. Besides about 150 new registrations, this figure includes the registration of 32 bee clubs, which are now fully incorporated into the Bee Industry. The database contains about 1800 entries of which approximately 1300 are active bee farmers and 150 are representatives of various bodies having an interest in the Bee Industry, such as seed companies, fruit producers, universities and state institutions. A concerted effort is currently being made to increase the registration figures to the stated goal of 750 registrations.
The SA Bee Journal, which is the mouthpiece and a means of communication, is published on time and is of outstanding quality. Two issues have already been published this year and the remaining two issues are awaited with great excitement. Your contributions are extremely important to ensure that the Bee Magazine becomes still more personal and attractive. The circulation figure increased from about 250 copies during
to 1400 copies per issue during 2003. This however does present a big financial impact and the management wishes to thank the
advertisers. Without their support and patience, this circulation figure would not have been possible. It is estimated that already, the bee magazine is actually being read by a considerably larger number than the stated figure.
Regarding the removal of blue-gum trees, I am pleased to announce that after more than three years of frustration, progress is eventually being made. During April a memorandum of agreement was entered into with Work-for-Water. The importance of this agreement is emphasised by the fact that, simultaneously, it was also accepted and signed by the National Department of Agriculture as well as the Deciduous Fruit Trust. During May and June tenders were being awaited for carrying out an impact study in the Western Cape, while a virtual moratorium was placed on the removal of blue-gum trees in this province. It is expected that the 6-month study will commence at the end of July 2003 and will eventually result in a National strategy for dealing with this sensitive matter.
In spite of the enthusiasm regarding the suggested new dispensation in the industry and promises of financial contributions to make
it work, it is unfortunate that the empathy and co-operation of many of my fellow bee farmers is to be regretted. We have gone to a
lot of trouble to create something new and better for the sake of the industry in which we find ourselves, but it would appear as if
the majority of the bee farmers still wait passively for someone else to do something, in stead of reacting immediately and taking the
bull by the horns and helping things to happen. All cannot and do not want to serve on committees and be saddled with this thankless yet
necessary task, but each one's involvement, interest and contribution (which definitely includes financial), provides the motivation
necessary in order for your Management members to be able to, untiringly, carry on. To date of the requested voluntary contributions
only 70 (from a potential of 3000) bee farmers have been received representing about 9,500 beehives (from a potential of 150000).