Strengthening Honey Trade in Uganda

The aim of this Pilot Project (2006-2008) was to increase trade in honey, bringing more income to poor, rural beekeepers. The Project was funded by the UK-based donor, Comic Relief, and implemented by The Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB), The Uganda National Apiculture Development Organisation (TUNADO) and Bees for Development. Together we embarked on an 18-month Pilot Project with the ultimate goal of building sustainable livelihoods based on beekeeping by increasing incomes to poor households through increased honey trade.

Beekeeping is practised widely in Uganda. The local market for table honey is significant, and demand in urban areas outstrips supply. Trade opportunities for other bee products are also growing. However, inefficiencies in the supply chain and the low capacity of producers to understand and negotiate markets, means that this activity is not achieving its full potential in bringing income benefits to the poor.

The aim of this Project was to increase the volume of honey flowing from poor beekeeping communities to markets, and increase the flow of money in the opposite direction. TUNADO took the lead in building the capacity of producer groups and encouraging the development of mutually beneficial trading relationships between producers and buyers. TUNADO collates and disseminates appropriate information and delivers guidance to the sector. We recognise that honey traders, processors and packers need services and information, particularly to begin to engage with markets outside Uganda. UEPB  worked with these stakeholders, providing information and advice and equipping them with the necessary know-how about exporting. UEPB led the Ugandan representation at the International Apicultural Congress, Apimondia,  which took place in Australia in September 2007.

This Pilot Project involved building relationships, gaining crucial insights into business development approaches that can be scaled up to achieve growth, and understanding the complexities of the trade-enabling environment.

Globally the market for speciality honey is good, and we are sure that with the right assistance, Ugandan beekeepers could be delivering delicious and different, tropical African honeys to the world market.

Bosco Okello, Apiary Products Officer for the Uganda Export Promotion Board weighs up some high quality beeswax at the Kazo Apiculture Development Centre in Kiruhura District


Reports and articles

Bees for Development (2007) Assessment of the status and capacity of honey packers and beekeepers in Uganda. Download PDF here

Bees for Development (2008) Strengthening trade in honey in Uganda. BfD Journal Issue no. 83. Click to read

Lowore. J and Bradbear. N (2009) Information for honey packers. Beekeeping Enterprise Development Guide 1. Bees for Development.

Lowore. J and Bradbear. N (2009) Market access for beekeepers. Beekeeping Enterprise Development Guide 2. Bees for Development.

These publications are available to purchase at Bees for Development Store.