What Makes African Beekeepers Ltd the leaders in modern beekeeping?
African Beekeepers Ltd (ABL) is a private company working for the development of the beekeeping and honey industry in Kenya and targeting eventually the East African region as its operational area. The company commenced operations in 2001 with the establishment of African Beekeepers office in Nairobi, Kenya. ABL chose to work in the agricultural sector since the sector remains key to Kenya’s economic development and offers opportunities in agricultural enterprise development.
ABL believes use of Technological advances in agriculture coupled with market opportunities for agricultural commodities can bring about positive changes for agricultural producers and processors. However, the complexity of ecological and social economic issues in the development of the Kenyan agriculture provides a special challenge for those organizations supporting its development and those engaged in agribusiness. There is therefore no single organization with a monopoly claim or the capacity for the transfer of appropriate agricultural technology to rural agricultural communities.
The working of private sector organizations in partnerships with farmers in the development of the various agricultural commodities with respect to supply of suitable technology, credit, processing and marketing of produce is a strategy that has great potential for success since if creation of a vertically integrated commodity system is effected where the necessary aspects of production, technology and marketing are not left to chance but are planned for and catered for. It is also important to recognize that the current trend of dwindling natural resources in most parts of Kenya requires intensification of agricultural production and at the same time environmental friendly methods as an important precondition for survival chances of rural agricultural enterprises.
African Beekeepers Ltd has chosen to work in partnership with farmer communities and willing development organizations in production of honey (and associated products) a commodity that is in demand both at the domestic and international level. Honey is in demand both within the African region and the rest of the world. Total world honey production has been remarkably stable over the last few years at just over one million metric tones a year. In contrast world honey consumption has increased steadily to 1.2 million tones in the last decade. Africa is emerging as net importer of honey. For example in Kenya around 65% of the Kenyan demand for honey is met by locally produced honey while imported honey makes up the difference. With the knowledge that a market for high quality honey is available the requirement for exploiting the opportunity is to put in place an effective and efficient system for production, processing and marketing of honey in partnership with rural beekeepers communities such that both these communities and the African Beekeepers Ltd play complimentary roles in the promotion of honey production and emerge as beneficiaries in the honey industry. African Beekeepers believes that this partnership approach in production and marketing of honey and associated products has potential for success.
The vision of the African Beekeepers Ltd is to promote the beekeeping enterprise in partnership with rural communities and willing development organizations and turn it into a commercial enterprise through the use of commercial bee keeping technology and equipment for the production of honey and associated products. This would benefit all stakeholder partners interested and participating in the promotion of the beekeeping industry. ABL believes this vision will be achieved in a stepwise fashion through the introduction and implementation of commercial oriented bee keeping technologies and exploitation of available market opportunities.
ABL Honey undergoing FDA inspection in the US
The current objective of the company is to promote and supply commercial beekeeping technology (among Rural Communities) namely the langstroth hive and associated beekeeping and honey processing equipment and training as inputs towards increased honey productivity and associated products which are at the same time of high quality and can successfully compete in the local, regional and world market with honey produced elsewhere. The company is run by General Manager under a board of directors. It has three units as follows: -
- Manufacturing Unit – For production and distribution of bee keeping equipment which includes langstroth bee hives, protective gear, smokers and honey extractors( centrifuge machines).
- Production Unit - To manage the honey and associated product production process including field services.
- Honey Processing and marketing unit – To manage activities related to processing, packaging and marketing of honey and associated products