Although three regional Beekeeping Associations had been in existence since the first decade of the 20th Century; Transvaal (1907), Natal (1909) and Western Province (1911), the first national body of Beekeepers in South Africa was formed in 1921 in the form of the South Africa Association of Beekeepers, (SAAB). This name however changed on occasion throughout the years, notably to the South African Federation of Beekeepers Associations in the 1960’s although it was always commonly referred to as the SA Association of Beekeepers. In 1993 a further structural change took place with the establishment of the Southern African Bee Industry Executive (SABIE) which was made up of representatives from the SA Federation of Bee Farmers Associations and the SA Professional Bee Farmers’ Co-Operative Ltd. In 2003 SABIE was re-constituted to become the South African Bee Industry Organisation (SABIO). The Bee Industry body has retained its structural format since 2003 despite a number of constitutional changes to improve its operations and representivity.
South African Beekeeping in the early days – “Die Byeboerwa”
(Acknowledgements: “A History of Bees and Beekeeping in South Africa”, du Preez, F., The Office, 2011.)
South African Beekeeping in the modern era –a “Die Byeboerwa” (Beekeeper’s Wagon) from Swellendam, Southern Cape.
The regulation of Beekeeping in South Africa has always fallen within the ambit of the Agricultural Pests Act. In 1998 a Control Measure was promulgated primarily in response to the control of the “capensis invasion” requiring all beekeepers to register. The administrative requirements were delegated to the then SABIE body. SABIO took over this function in 2003. This function has been relinquished to the Department of Agriculture in 2013 in terms of the amended Control Measure.
SABIO is a voluntary association operating in terms of its Constitution. It has a Board comprising members elected to run the organisation and to represent its interests to government and other stakeholders in the agricultural and trade industries.
SABIO Board Members regularly attend workshops and forums hosted by Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to advise on and give input in respect of beekeeping issues affecting the industry.
Aims and Objectives
1.1 promoting and advancing the beekeeping industry in South Africa;
1.2 being the spokesperson for the beekeeping sector in South Africa on all matters affecting the beekeeping industry;
1.3 acting as an umbrella body for all affiliated beekeeping bodies and assisting with the establishment and promotion of Beekeeping Associations throughout all provinces in South Africa;
1.4 liaising directly with any government department or institution on all matters affecting the beekeeping sector in South Africa;
1.5 liaising with any body or organisation involved in agriculture in South Africa to promote beekeeping activities and services and all bee products linked to the agriculture industry;
1.6 to promote the development of beekeeping in the informal and disadvantaged communities in South Africa;
1.7 to assist with the development of research in any aspects of apiculture and liaise with any research institution on matters impacting on the beekeeping sector in South Africa;
1.8 keeping all persons involved in the beekeeping industry informed of current issues affecting beekeeping in the country and internationally as far as is reasonably possible;
1.9 encouraging conformity amongst the beekeeping community with all statutory requirements affecting beekeeping including (although not limited to) registration of beekeepers, movement of bees, disease control and the importation of any bee products into the Republic of South Africa;
1.10 liaising with other international organisations involved in apiculture.