ApiTrade Africa launches new Initiative
Bosco Okello, CEO, ApiTrade Africa, Kampala, Uganda
Keywords: Africa, bee products, fair trade, honey trade, Market and Investment Promotion of Apiculture in Africa
Following a successful year in 2008, our gates are more widely open to African honey processors, buyers and exporters looking for African honey. Demand is rising for African honey in the export and domestic markets: the increased desire by private sector to work within a regional framework through ApiTrade Africa, and the growing need by middle-income earners to invest in the honey value chain, have impressed upon us the need for action.
It is evident that market is the engine for increasing production ie when farmers can sell their products they have incentive to produce. Therefore, improving the market chain through appropriate information provision will go a long way to promote trade in bee products in the region and beyond. This is more so for Africa where information is difficult and expensive to access.
Often, demand for honey exceeds supply because beekeeping in Africa is dominated by small-holder subsistence arrangements. There is need to stimulate more investments in the sector at different levels of the value chain. Service providers, government and development agencies should develop a system that provides reliable information to prospective pro-African investors. Already there is a lot of expertise among service providers in Africa to support strategic investments in the sector, however there is no platform to make this happen. For instance, several service providers who attended the ApiExpo Africa 2008 cannot sustainably reach out to prospective investors since there is no existing system to facilitate the process. Investors need also to have the right information in terms of business opportunities, investment risk analysis, economic analysis and appropriate technology.
Under the Market and Investment Promotion of Apiculture in Africa (MARIPAA) Programme, a number of market development activities will be undertaken in 2009, including match-making between exporters and importers, supporting fair-trade and organic production projects and promoting regional co-operative bulking systems. Similarly, in collaboration with partners, for example, Uganda Investment Authority, SNV-Netherlands, and the private sector, investment promotional channels are being established. These include the establishment of Business Clinics where investors meet specialised consultants to mentor them and turn their honey-related business ideas into viable projects. The first Business Clinic opened on 20 April 2009 at ApiTrade Africa offices in Kampala.
For more information about this initiative and its impact visit www.apitradeafrica.org