KENYA – Premier Foods Limited, Kenyan producer of a wide range of condiments and juices has partnered with Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) to support the development of the country’s apiculture sector.
According to National Farmers Information Service, Kenya is producing 20,000 metric tonnes of honey, below its potential which is estimated at 100,000 metric tonnes.
The deficit in production as indicated by KBC, has led to an influx of cheap and adulterated honey from unscrupulous traders both locally and internationally, a move that has eroded the confidence of consumers.
Under the partnership, Premier Foods, producers of the Peptang honey brand will provide market for the honey produced and spearhead value addition of the commodity.
The CEO Premier Foods Limited Joseph Choge, noted that for years farmers involved in bee keeping had been forgotten despite the potential in the sector adding that the company was committed to empowering bee-keepers.
“For years farmers had had challenges in harvesting maximum yields due to poor farming methods but we have moved in to close that gap,” he said.
The national research institute KARLO on the other hand, will develop technologies to increase honey production and address the issue of rampant decline of bee population caused by excess usage of insecticides in farms as well as heavy deforestation.
According to the Director in charge of KALRO center in Naivasha Dr Evans Ilatsia, the initiative will include capacity building for farmers involved in bee farming for sustainable honey production.
“Many farmers have challenges in identifying the right types of bee-hives and value addition and this partnership is keen to address this,” he said.
The director was however quick to express his concern over the ongoing spraying of locust noting that it had massive effects on bees.
“The chemicals are also killing bees which are also insects and this will definitely have effect on honey production in the country as bees are critical in pollination,” he said.
By bolstering the apiculture sector, Kenya will be tapping into the US$ 7.678 billion honey market in 2018 and is expected to generate around US$ 10.336 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of around 4.8% between 2019 and 2025, according to Zion Market Research.
Other than KARLO and Premier Foods, Bidco Africa recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), aimed to tackle Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) among communities living adjacent to protected areas through sunflower farming and beekeeping.
The African beekeeping sector in general is experiencing a boost in investment with the likes of Koster Keunen, one of the world’s leading processors, refiners and marketers of natural waxes, having received a grant of almost US$2 million from USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub to organize and improve West Africa’s beekeeping supply chain to meet international standards for honey and beeswax.
Through the grant acquired, the firm will provide equipment, training, and new technologies, and will facilitate certifications for smallholders in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo.
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