First Person: The honey business owner creating a buzz in northern Uganda |

“I used to work in an office, and people would come to my place to sell ‘West Nile honey’, named after the region I came from. I was delighted 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 return home and start a company to serve my community.

Sam Aderobu, found in Honey Pride

UN News / Hisae Kawamori

Sam Aderobu, found in Honey Pride

A product in demand

The product is in demand both domestically and internationally, having the effect of making medicine and food for erectile dysfunction. We realized that there was strong potential to produce it on a large scale.

However, many people in this area only collect honey in the traditional way, as a hobby. We decided to guide farmers and give them the necessary skills because in the past, they worked without any formal support; no one is willing to invest to assist them in improving the quality of their honey.

Today, we are working with over 1,700 farmers who harvest honey from subsidiaries on their land. We provide a reliable market for them, encouraging 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 our business in 2015, a kilo of honey sold for around 3,500 Ugandan Shillings. Today, it is about 7,000 shillings. This has prompted many farmers to dive into beekeeping.

Now they can buy their necessities and not have to worry about going hungry. They can buy goats and other animals, and pay school fees for their children. Some have even been able to acquire properties. Beekeeping is changing their lives.

Our vision is to lead the market in the sale of sustainable honeycomb products in the Great Lakes region and globally. Our products have now reached international standards and are accepted by foreign markets.”

We are trying to build a dedicated management team and many of them are young people. We are getting help from a program by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which addresses young people’s attitudes towards agriculture, and how they can be motivated to use agriculture as a source of employment.

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

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

UN News / Hisae Kawamori

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

Overcoming financial challenges

Finance is one of our biggest challenges. Due to lack of finance, most of the honey making process is done manually. However, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), which has allowed us to get funding from the Uganda Development Bank, and partially improve our production process.

We are currently using an electric honey press and were able to purchase a purifier to improve the quality of our product. We can process about five tons of honey in a month, which is a huge leap in capacity, and I am sure we will be able to increase that to about 15 tons.

We are very grateful for the support we receive from UNCDF, as it also helps us to improve our business management, increase production and enhance the quality of our products. “

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