Chairman Chris Nicklin reflects on the Africa Regional Apimondia Symposium in Durban in March 2023.
Seasoned journalist and WCBA chairman Chris Nicklin, left, conducted several interviews at the Africa Regional Apimondia Symposium.
WCBA members were on a roll at the recent Apimondia Africa event at the ICC in Durban. We won first place in no fewer than ten categories of the honey and beehive products competition. Elsewhere, WCBA names literally littered the final results declaration. There were second and third prizes for our members, as well as numerous commendations.
As the newly-elected chairman of the WCBA, it was an enormous privilege to be at Apimondia Africa and witness our members’ success first hand. In the hours leading up to the awards ceremony, which rounded off the three-day Apimondia Africa symposium, news started filtering through about how well our members had done. Nonetheless, the scale of the WCBA success was still a big surprise.
After the ceremony, I caught sight of Reg Morgan, one of the judges from the SA Honey Judges’ and Stewards’ Guild, chatting to someone. I approached them, ostensibly to thank Reg and his fellow judges for the hard work they had done. During my brief and admittedly effusive exchange with Reg about the competition, the man with him suddenly became agitated. Gesturing towards the adjoining conference rooms, he insinuated that the important beekeeping issues that had been discussed at Apimondia shouldn’t be overshadowed by something as trivial as a honey competition!
Had the guy not stalked off so suddenly, I would have argued that competitions, such as the one at Apimondia, are certainly not inconsequential. They help build excellence in our industry, raise awareness among honey consumers, stimulate the businesses of participating beekeepers, and contribute a sense of fun and purpose about what we do.
It’s well known that only a minute fraction of the members of any beekeeping organisation participate in competitions. Our “single jar” WCBA honey competition, held alongside the honey festival at Spice Route Destination last month, seemed to have sparked a renewed enthusiasm among our members that led to the flurry of Apimondia entries. Let’s keep the impetus going. There are still a number of important honey competitions to be held this year and we’ll keep you informed timeously so that you don’t have to put any undue pressure on your bees to churn out an award-winning honey!
But of course, the WCBA committee is not distracted from its other important work. Our remit is to support the needs of all our member beekeepers, whether part-time or professional.
We have a strong and dedicated committee this year, including the well-known honeybee scientist, Professor Robin Crewe, and Charles Salmon of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. We’re exploring initiatives with the wine industry, for example, to help alleviate the forage crisis, finding ways to turn the tide against the rampant theft and vandalism of our beehives, tackling the colossal problem of adulterated honey and the illegal marketing of certain honey substitutes, and trying to implement measures to eliminate unscrupulous practices in the pollination industry.
We have also planned a comprehensive programme of webinars, workshops and information sessions to assist in every aspect of your beekeeping. Details of these will be circulated shortly.
To acknowledge all our members who won awards or received commendations at Apimondia Africa, I have supplied a full list of their names and the categories in which they excelled below. Congratulations to them all.
Best Bottle of Honey on Show SA: Clayton Sanders-Perrin
Highest Score in Value Addition: Achmat Kazie
Liquid Honey Light: 1st Clayton Sanders-Perrin; 2nd Achmat Kazie; Commended Eddy Rube and Francois Schippers (two commendations)
Liquid Honey Medium: 1st Francois Schippers
Liquid Honey Dark: Commended Henry Van Lingen
Select Honey Red Flowering Gum: Commended Achmat Kazie
Select Honey Orange Blossom: Clayton Sanders-Perrin
Granulated Honey Medium: Commended Achmat Kazie
Beeswax Candles: 3rd Achmat Kazie
Novelty Cosmetics: 3rd Achmat Kazie
Novelty Edible Confectionary: 1st Ian Thompson
Commercial Hive Products: 1st Achmat Kazie
Commercial Honey Display: 1st Achmat Kazie
Labels and Packaging: 1st Eddy Rube
Mead Methyglin Semi-Sweet: 1st Danie Vorster