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I am a young Cameroonian graduate who is highly interested in bee farming. Unemployment being the order of the day in my country, I opted for self employment by creating my bee farm. My intention is to expand my farm - if I get some funding, I can have at least 400 beehives. My dream is to be able to export my products to Europe and America one day. I wish to create a partnership with you people whereby you can fund my project and in return, I ship my products to you. If you have any other proposal, it will be highly welcome.
A beekeeper from Cameroon
Thank you for your enquiry. I am pleased to hear that you are producing high quality honey for sale. However, Bees for Development are not a trading agency or a funding agency and are not able to help you either to fund your business or sell your honey. I recognise that selling honey is not easy - in any country of the world. It is hard work and requires a lot of input from the producer in making connections with buyers and working to establish a reputation as a reliable supplier of quality honey. Local markets are frequently hungry for honey. If you have to add to the scale of your bee farm, have you considered making your hives from much cheaper local materials or expanding the number of traditional hives you keep.. I have seen many clever uses of local materials from raffia palm to basket work in Cameroon. They do not have to be durable in the very long term just enough to get you one or two crops of honey depending on the cost of making them. If you already have a large and reliable honey supply have you spoken to the local shops and larger scale retailers. Alternatively, have you considered putting it into small packs -say 50gms- for sale on the local stalls and kiosks.
It is our experience that it is rarely worthwhile trying to tap into European markets if you can find a reasonable local market. The commodity prices for honey that you are likely to receive are not normally high enough to be more profitable than local or regional markets after you have deducted the investment costs; in particular the costs of complying with European residue monitoring legislation are very significant. In addition, a minimum consignment would be a container load which would be around 18 tonnes of bulk honey packed in 300 kg barrels and this relatively small amount would only be viable if you were able to access specialist Fair Trade or Certified Organic marketing schemes (which also incur significant costs). Before entering on this kind of investment it would be essential to finding a reliable buyer within the EU. Otherwise, Asian and Arab markets are easier to access and may be worth investigating through local business people with connections into these communities.
The true work of Bees for Development is to provide information to assist beekeeping in developing countries. On the website you can read about Bees for Development Journal and download a complimentary copy. It is a unique and informative publication that provides practical advice on beekeeping and management techniques, future events and reports from beekeeping projects and associations worldwide. It provides an avenue into the beekeeping network which is important for information exchange and making new contacts. The Trust raises funds to sponsor subscriptions to the Journal and if you would like to request a sponsored subscription you should a complete and return the attached form. Once you have filled in the details requested and returned it to us you will be included on our list of people requesting a subscription to the Journal. You will be notified when sponsorship has been secured on your behalf. The journal is currently published in English and a sponsored subscription is for one year. This gives 4 issues that are sent direct to your mailing address.
We are not a funding agency and cannot help you financially. However, on our website you will find download files that offer suggestions for sponsorship, writing project proposals and finding funding, but these are recommendations only and no outcome is guaranteed. In general however, it is easier for properly registered NGOs to obtain funding in this way rather than private individuals. In general I think that people looking for funding to develop a business will be directed either to banks for a loan or to microfinance possibilities. Good luck with your honey selling.
Bees for Development