Saturday, December 4, 2021

Morelife: A successful beekeeping project

Honey has many uses and astonishing benefits in our lives; and its versatility is the reason why it is widely used on a daily basis. Increased demand for honey, especially in the new era of health consciousness inspired Tshepiso Marumo to start a beekeeping project back in 2007.

Her interest in the beekeeping business was sparked by an article that she read about bees; their behavior, how they communicate and how they convert pollen into honey. She did further research into beekeeping and eventually founded her company, The Zone 4 Life (Pty) LTD. She started the project in 2007 with only three colonies.

“Even with only three colonies, I had an ambition to set up a company that will become a leader in the production and manufacturing of honey by products and agro-tourism,” she said.

Initially, Marumo produced honey and bee wax only. But as the company grew she expanded her operations and stated producing honey snacks, comb honey, chunk honey, lip balm, floor polish and honey juice. The products are sold under the brand name ‘Morelife’ at the Gaborone bus rank, alternative health clinics, vendors and even to individuals.

The Zone 4 Life currently employs five permanent employees and has assisted four University students to complete their dissertations using the bee keeping project.  

“Moreover, we work with seven street vendors who are able to earn a living through selling our products,” said Marumo.

This has earned the company international recognition as it has won several awards and been invited to a number of international business events. In 2012, The Zone 4 Life participated in an agribusiness forum in Dakar, Senegal. The company has also participated in various expos in Ghana, Lesotho, Poland and the United States of America (USA). Locally, the company won prizes at the national Women’s Expo in 2013 and 2014.

Despite its success, Marumo revealed that the company still faces challenges caused mainly by climate change.

“Changes in climate have affected our business because our production has reduced from 50 beehives in 2011 to 16 in 2016. We are also challenged by disappearance of bee species, low production and many parasites that hinder production,” said Mathumo.

Other challenges include lack of transport and proper infrastructure, limited water supplies to water the orchards and lack of machinery. However, The Zone 4 Life started the year 2016 on a high note as they have secured all the relevant documentation to participate in government programs like Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) and also submit bids for high value projects with the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB).

“It has not been an easy ride, my strength and capabilities were tested on numerous occasions, but I managed to survive through patience, discipline, hard work and focus,” said Marumo.

Uses of honey

Honey increases the body’s metabolism of alcohol and is therefore good for treating hangovers. Since it’s an antiseptic, it is often used to heal sores and wounds. It helps reduce the appearance of scars and speeds up healing and tissue regeneration. This makes it a must have for sports persons. Honey can also be used for beauty purposes as a moisturizer for dry skin, for treating acne and to calm redness and irritation. Honey can also be used as a supplement for sugar.

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