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Bokang Swartz: A Woman in Beekeeping

Bokang Swartz: A Woman in Beekeeping
January 15
15:10 2018

·       She makes no bones about it: her honey costs more because it is raw and healthy

 

THATO CHUMA

Although honey production is widely regarded as a male dominated enterprise, for Bokang Swartz, a local beekeeper and founder of ‘Tsina Tota’ that makes organic honey, the bee business is simply a lucrative venture that demands both bravery and passion.

Swartz drew inspiration and drive from her father’s passion for farming. “My father inspired me because he is a farmer at through and through,” she explains. “He taught me with the help of Mr Abram Phokedi of the Ministry of Agriculture. They taught me how bees work, how a colony is run by female bees, how honey is made and about products other than honey.”

Swartz describes her experience of the market as exceptionally good for a local product. “People are keenly asking more about our honey, which is raw and costs more because of the vast health benefits,” she says.

“It’s not as sweet as processed honey, but best of all, it is a local product that is produced and packaged in Gaborone. Our main focus currently is our honey. We do have other product lines in mind, although we intend to explore a few. We plan to bring great quality products for Batswana and other markets.”

At present, she and her team face challenges of shortage of land, lack of local manufacturers of hives and protective gear, and pests like wax moth, ants, honey beetles and monkeys, as well as the drought.

But Swartz has had a few successes along the way, having started keeping bees in 2008 and launching her professional enterprise last year July. “Breaking into the market has been a great highlight,” she delights. “We have been blessed to have taught Standard 2 pupils from Northside Primary School through Joanna Laverick. Putting our products on the shelves of Choppies Westgate Mall and Choppies Hyper Game City is also a huge milestone for us.”

Tsina Tota aspires to supply Botswana with premium quality honey. “We hope to educate Batswana in beekeeping and honey production and to become advocates not only for bees and beekeepers but local farmers as well.”

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