Beekeepers need access to a market that offers appropriate terms of payment, is reliable and fair, and local to their homes. KABECOS can provide this market only if its business operations are viable, which means achieving a minimum turnover of about 10 tonnes of honey per year. An increase in volume bought and sold will deliver more income to the community in the short term, ensure long-term viability, and a significant future impact.
Work in community mobilisation through radio and publicity is building KABECOS’s network of honey producers. Training to reduce wastage when harvesting and processing honey is improving returns, and village based collection centres are reducing transport costs. Through direct outreach KABECOS is better understanding its members’ willingness to produce and sell honey, for example their strong preference for cash rather than credit on delivery. And with advice on business systems and processes, it is developing stock and cash flow management approaches and starting to access finance.
Market development for poverty alleviation is not just about trade: it is also about empowerment and resilience. For KABECOS to deliver a wealth creating opportunity for many beekeepers, the organisation must be strong enough to overcome the inevitable challenges and to be fair to everyone. We believe that a successful producer-owned trading group has its foundation in a good business model – and thrives on member loyalty, good leadership and accountability.
Greater membership loyalty and improved institutional strength are goals of KABECOS and this Project. Activities include member consultations, looking again at membership benefits, and ensuring that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. This includes committee members, management and beekeepers. Communication and feedback systems are being set up to improve accountability.
Training will be delivered in making craft items from beeswax. Members will develop the skills to add value to, and diversify their produce, to make more income from what they have. This change will allow more money to be generated, and enable other members of the community with different skills to benefit, especially women. The benefits will be increased income and more inclusion and empowerment for women.
We will work with with TUNADO and ApiTrade Africa to build capacity, skills and experience. We aim for an enhanced and established opportunity for small-scale beekeepers to engage meaningfully in dialogues on trade-related issues. The evidence base needed to scale up organic and fairtrade Certification will be achieved.
The Project is supporting TUNADO, the industry body that represents the interests of Uganda’s small-scale beekeepers, by building the skills and capacity of the organisation to generate its own funds. An experienced Ugandan volunteer is working with TUNADO Board and Secretariat on sustainable fundraising.
Building the capacity of Partners to engage with policy-makers is an important outcome of the Project. TUNADO and KABECOS both participate actively in the existing multi-stakeholder platform for apiculture. This is a national network sharing information and experiences, and drawing up recommendations for action. This network is working to find ways to connect more effectively with national policy making processes. For example, the status of certified beekeeping training is one issue under discussion.
ApiTrade Africa (AA) is working to build its capability to engage with government processes in Uganda and the region, on various issues related to market access and marketing of African bee products. One issue that AA plans to address is that of access to the EU market. This access provides an incentive for the private sector and beekeepers’ cooperatives in export businesses, and motivation for investments within the value chain.
AA is also keen to support government strategies in Africa for niche marketing of honey and beeswax under organic and fairtrade labels, and AA will engage with the private sector and government, and provide technical support to achieve these goals.
In addition to the work of TUNADO and ApiTrade Africa, lessons learned through the practical work delivered in Kamwenge will be brought to appropriate audiences including national level organisations.