First person: Honey business owner creates a buzz in northern Uganda |

“Before, I worked in an office and people came to my workplace to sell ‘West Nile honey’, named after the region where I come from. I was interested to see my region being used as a brand and discovered that West Nile is one of the top ranked regions in Uganda for honey production.

So I decided to go home and start a business to serve my community.

UN News/ Hisae Kawamori

Sam Aderobu, Founder of Honey Pride

A product in demand

The product is in demand, both locally and internationally, and has positive medicinal and dietary properties. We realized that there was great potential to produce it on a large scale.

However, many people in this region only harvest honey in the traditional way, as a hobby. We decided to support the farmers, and provide them with the necessary skills because before, they worked without any formal support; no one was willing to invest to help them improve the quality of their honey.

Today, we work with over 1,700 farmers, who harvest honey from apiaries on their land. We provide them with a reliable market, which encourages them to produce more.

Beekeeper Betty Ayikoru, Arua, Northern Uganda

UN News/ Hisae Kawamori

Beekeeper Betty Ayikoru, Arua, Northern Uganda

Economy, environment and society

We believe that if beekeeping is brought to a level where farmers understand it as a business, it will improve their livelihoods; when we started the business in 2015, a kilo of honey sold for around 3,500 Ugandan shillings. Today it is around 7,000 shillings. This has motivated many farmers to take up beekeeping.

Now they can afford the basic necessities and they don’t have to worry about going hungry anymore. They can buy goats and other animals and pay school fees for their children. Some were even able to acquire property. Beekeeping changes their lives.

Our vision was to be a market leader in the sale of sustainable bee products in the Great Lakes region and to sell globally. Our products now meet international standards and are accepted in overseas markets.”

We try to build a dedicated management team, and many of them are young people. We get help from a program managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which deals with the attitude of young people towards agriculture and how they can be motivated to adopt agriculture as a source of use.

The young people we interact with are beginning to realize that they have a big role to play in national development. So, even if we want to make profit, we also have a social aspect in what we do.

Beekeeper Betty Ayikoru and her family at their home in Arua, northern Uganda

UN News/ Hisae Kawamori

Beekeeper Betty Ayikoru and her family at their home in Arua, northern Uganda

Overcome financial challenges

Funding has been one of our biggest challenges. Due to a lack of funding, much of the honey-making process was done manually. However, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), enabled us to obtain financing from the Uganda Development Bank, and to improve part of our production process.

We now use an electric honey press and were able to acquire a filtering machine to improve the quality of our product. We are able to process about five tons of honey in a month, which is a very big increase in capacity, and I’m sure we can increase that capacity to about 15 tons.

We are very grateful for the support we have received from UNCDF, as it has also helped us improve our business management, increase production and improve the quality of our product.

About Byron G. Fazio

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