A new Project in Uganda aims to increase trade in honey, bringing more income to poor, rural beekeepers. The Project is being 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 have 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 is to increase the volume of honey flowing from poor beekeeping communities to markets, and increase the flow of money in the opposite direction. TUNADO will take the lead to achieve this by building the capacity of producer groups and encouraging the development of mutually beneficial trading relationships between producers and buyers. TUNADO will also collate and disseminate appropriate information and deliver 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 will lead work including Ugandan representation at the International Apicultural Congress, Apimondia, taking place in Australia in September 2007, and equipping honey businesses with the necessary know-how to export. Bees for Development is responsible for overall project management and guidance.
This Pilot Project involves building of 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
Robert Ndyabarema and Philip Muwanika, of TUNADO, are shown the honey purchases record book by Daudi Mugisa and Joseph Azora at the Bulindi Honey Packing Centre in Hoima District
First published in Bees for Development Journal #84