Using Honey Production to Collaborate and Empower a Community

Meet AL for Agribusiness network member who is using honey production to collaborate with and empower her Ugandan community.

2020 – how can we forget that year? We all shared one thing in common, regardless of what part of the world you were in. My name is Nahwera Eufemia and I’m currently studying for my bachelor’s in Industrial and Livestock business at Makerere University, Uganda. I would love to share my story with you.

The Coronavirus took the world by storm and shook it to its core. Nobody was prepared for it. It brought with it lockdowns and masks, bringing the world as we know it to a grinding halt. My story starts in Uganda, where the situation was no different. Everyone was frantically trying to survive and address any symptoms associated with the virus, and many turned to herbal treatments. One case in particular shocked the nation. One pandemic survivor remarked how if it weren’t for honey, he would have been history. Honey became the talk of the country. There was a frenzy of people trying to get their hands on some honey, but alas, demand exceeded supply. The little that could be found was exorbitantly priced, while others adulterated the honey with other things. I immediately saw an opportunity.

I took immediate action and started a bee-keeping business. My young brother knew how to make beehives using local materials such as Papyrus and Pandanus stems, so that was a good start. As an entrepreneur, you start to see the fruits of your labour when people use your product. Before harvest, 20 customers had already pre-ordered our honey. This was an aha moment of solution validation! With increasing demand, we knew that we also had to increase our production. We taught more village youth about bee-keeping, though at that point, we were in need of capital. and funds. But it was a difficult road as we got rejected by 3 investors in succession. It was only through the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship at Queens University, in conjunction with Makerere University that we were able to later raise 1.2 million Ugandan Shillings to fund our work and take courses on the Baobao platform and Start Hub Africa.

Overall, we currently have 500 fully operational bee-hives, and we’ve harvested 120 liters of honey in the last year with the Ush 1.2 million. Of the 5 youth who participated, 2 secured school fees, and 3 managed to buy school supplies such as books and stationery. With regards to the climate, we are growing plants that will provide shade, while also creating a source of nectar for bee pollen and a place to hang the beehives.

Our vision is to become Africa’s leading honey producer and equip over 100 young people with beekeeping skills. We are confident that with help from AL for Agribusiness, we will achieve our goals. I was inspired by stories on the platform such as Brian’s with Kilimo Sasa Initiative. During the network’s monthly hangout sessions, I connect with entrepreneurs from across the continent, which creates a baseline for collaboration and networking. Many opportunities are posted on the AL for Agribusiness networks platforms like funding, internships, and fellowship opportunities. I would encourage all young Africans to join this highly collaborative network as it is helpful.

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