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Honeybush (Cyclopia spp.): From local cottage industry to global markets — The catalytic and supporting role of research

Joubert, E., Joubert, M.E., Bester, C., de Beer, D., De Lange, J.H.
South African journal of botany 2011 v.77 no.4 pp. 887-907
Cyclopia, genetic improvement, industry, markets, researchers, small businesses, tea
Honeybush tea (Cyclopia spp.), one of the traditional South African herbal teas with a long history of regional use, remained a cottage industry until the mid-1990s when researchers were instrumental in the development of a formal agricultural and agro-processing industry. It is one of the few indigenous South African plants that made the transition from the wild to a commercial product during the past 100years. Research activities during the past 20years included propagation, production, genetic improvement, processing, composition and the potential for value-adding. The present review provides an up-to-date and comprehensive record of the development of the South African honeybush industry, against the background of the historical highlights in the making of an industry. It provides a blueprint of the processes and actions involved in the development of a new agricultural and agro-processing industry from an herbal plant. Insight into challenges faced by the industry and future research needed to keep it competitive are provided.