African Biotrade Festival

BioInnovation Africa II

Calling all biotrade buyers

The African Biotrade Festival is an opportunity to meet biotrade sector leaders as well as small business entrepreneurs and providers of novel products and ingredients from indigenous African plants.

Six pavilions represent sector organisations working with key biotrade species including Baobab, Marula, Sceletium, Honeybush, Buchu and essential oils; and there is a pavilion dedicated to biotrade research, testing and standards.

The programme on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 September will provide a snapshot of where the biotrade sector is today, where it is going, and opportunities for local and international businesses. It includes talks on standards, market access, intellectual property and government support; as well as updates on developments in specific sectors.

See the festival layout

The African Biotrade Festival will be at the Sandton Convention Centre from Thursday 14 to Saturday 16 September 2023, with a conference programme on the 14th and 15th. The map below shows visitors the layout of sector pavilions, a Honeybush tearoom, business networking area and conference and workshop areas.

  • Honeybush Tea Room – Explore the cultivation and wild harvesting of this delicious natural resource, and test your taste buds against the Honeybush flavour wheel.
  • Species Pavilions – Meet the people developing key biotrade species, and learn about these rich natural resources and the products and ingredients they inspire. They will also be able to share the plans for development and growth for these species.
  • Networking Corner – Take time out to meet and discuss opportunities with buyers, suppliers, producers and entrepreneurs over a cup of coffee in a comfortable business lounge
  • Workshop Area - Make use of this space for group meetings, workshops and discussions

Meet the businesses exhibiting

Highland Essential Oils (HEO) produces high-value oils on a former dairy and maize farm in South Africa’s Free State province for supply to local and global food, medicinal, perfume and industrial markets. Read more about them here.

Agulhas Honeybush Tea (AHT) is a family-owned business which purchases raw materials from local organic certified farms in South Africa’s Western Cape Province, and produces and exports both fermented and green Honeybush tea products. Read more about them here.

Maungo Craft from Botswana is creating jobs by putting indigenous plant products into global value chains. The Botswana-based small business works with drought-tolerant species like Marula and Baobab, blending them with chilli, ginger, banana and coconut to make a range of gourmet preserves. Read more about them here.

Other businesses and organisations:

See what our student researchers have to say

ABioSA is proud to be working with students from across southern Africa to showcase their research on the potential of African plant biodiversity. Day two of the ABF conference programme features six talented researchers contributing to a robust and sustainable African biotrade. We feature three of them below. The full biographies are available here.

Sustainability of Honeybush cultivation in South Africa, Tafadzwa Makhuza, Rhodes University: Makhuza is investigating the environmental, social, and economic characteristics of cultivated Honeybush tea enterprises. Despite extensive research and financial commitments over the years by the public and private sectors, the cultivated Honeybush industry is yet to achieve its full potential.

The medicinal value of Honeybush in managing diabetes, Kyle Le Roux, Stellenbosch University: Le Roux is investigating the potential beneficial effects of Honeybush extracts in the treatment of hyperglycemia-induced disease conditions. The proposed research project aims to fill this gap in knowledge and further the appeal of Honeybush as part of a potential intervention strategy for oxidative stress-related diseases, such as diabetes.

Assessing the effects of Rooibos on gut health, Shana De Bruyn-Orr, Cape Peninsula University of Technology: De Bruyn-Orr is investigating the efficacy of the Rooibos in increasing bioavailability and absorption in the gut. Much is known about Rooibos and its uses in the food, cosmetics and medicine sectors, and this research aims to add to that wealth of knowledge by showcasing how beneficial it can be for gut health, especially as an alternative to conventional medications.