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A Business In A Beehive

   /   Oct 25th, 2011East Africa, Environment, Photos & Videos


Bees. More specifically, African Bees. They’re probably not the first, or even the fifth thing that comes to mind when you think of poverty alleviation. Yet these little insects are causing a stir, and the raw honey they produce is playing a role in lifting thousands of rural farmers out of poverty in East Africa.

Honey Care Africa is a Kenyan based social enterprise which for the past 11 years has brought modern honey production methods to East Africa, built a local market supply and demand for honey, and provided more than 15,000 rural farmers with an simple, gender equal, income generating opportunity. They’ve also achieved something even more remarkable. They’ve done it, for the most part, profitably.

Honey Care Africa’s farmers, who receive the “business in a beehive” package to help get them started, on average earn between 10,000-20,000 Kenyan Shillings per year ($120-$250) depending on the amount of hives they have, for less than 30 minutes of work per week. Considering most of these farmers earn less than $2 per day on average, the additional income, according to farmers, is well worth the investment. Additionally, some of Honey Care’s best bee farmers have gone on to earn a small income training other farmers in their areas.

The company is currently working to scale the business, and begin a transformation to turn honey from a “luxury good” into a nutritional supplement and daily dietary staple, because of its micronutrients. It’s “nature’s perfect immune system booster”, says Honey Care Africa’s CEO Madison Ayer. They are also starting to market their products to the base of the economic pyramid- essentially creating a “closed loop” BoP business model.

4 Responses

  1. Asaía Palacios says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    To me, A Business in a Beehive showcases a clear informative account on Honey Care Africa, all in a few words – impressive. I’d like to learn more on the “closed loop” BoP business model Honey Care Africa is working on. Can you elaborate?

    Much thanks

    • Jonathan Kalan says:

      Hi Asaia,

      Thank you! The “closed loop” BoP business model HCA is working on, according to HCA’s CEO, is simply a way of having the BoP engaged in the entire process- from supply to production to consumption. BoP individuals are already the ones supplying and processing the honey, and by trying to market honey as a nutritional supplement, selling it in smaller packets to BoP consumers as a replacement for sugar, and marketing the health aspects of it to BoP consumers, they hope to achieve this! If refugees, humanitarian disaster victims, and other disenfranchised groups are also receiving the honey (albeit it might be paid for by aid groups or governments), you could also somewhat consider this as a BoP consumer market it – in some ways.

  2. [...] A Business In A Beehive [...]

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