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Honey business in Kenya

In Kenya, beekeeping is restricted in cultivation and may be widespread in pastures where  natural vegetation contains many plant species suitable for bee foraging. Honey is mainly produced using a traditional approach based on a process called Blockhive technology.

Beekeeping can be successfully carried out in 80% of the country and is especially useful in dry and semi-arid areas where cultivation is difficult without irrigation. Beekeeping contributes to household income and food and nutritional safety by providing honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis,  bee venom and royal jelly as medicines. The potential for beekeeping development in the country is estimated to be over 60,000 tons and over 100,000 tons of honey and beeswax, respectively.

What do you need for starting up a honey production business?

  1. Carry out your market research: This is an important business stepit can almost be thrown away. You will run out and get to  know the status of honey production. Evaluate demand, identify supply gaps, and be able to fill them. Get answers to the survey questions you think are important, and when you’re happy, move on to  other requirements.
  1. Professional counselling: You need to get professional guidance from the Kenyan Beekeepers Association. Get a guide on the best ways to manage your bee keeping farm and maintain its quality. Also, find out about different types of bees and which bees are suitable for what. Information about bee food and behavior is also helpful.
  1. Land acquisition: Get a free place, whether in rural or urban areas. You can rent a space of about 10,000 Ksh. 
  1. Properly market your honey production business: Network with potential customers such as individuals, supermarkets and even processors so that your honey is ready to market as soon as it is harvested.
  1. Place the hives correctly in the vacant slot: Use the knowledge received from the Kenyan Beekeepers Association to properly place urticaria (beehives). 
  1. Get materials related to honey harvesting: This includes protective equipment, containers for storing combs, and other related equipment. 
  1. Choosing the Right Urticaria (Beehives): This should be informed by the professional guidance and knowledge obtained from the Kenyan Beekeepers Association. It has  to do with the life cycle of bees and what they need to make honey. Proper urticaria provides the proper conditions for bees to live and produce honey. Remember that bees  never live in your urticaria and  never produce  honey if the conditions are not right-invest in the right urticaria. Get a suitable beehive for about Ksh 5,000.

How profitable is the honey business in Kenya? 

Honey is sold in Kenya for Ksh 500- Ksh 800 at the cost for 1 kilogram of honey. If 2 beehives each produce 30 kg, it is 60 kg. Sell Ksh 800 at a time, or Ksh 48,000. You already have a profit of Ksh 18,000. By repeatedly harvesting and selling honey, you can make real money from the production of honey.

The beauty of having a honey production business is that there is no waste of the product. To expand profitability, bee farm owners in Kenya can produce more products using honey and beeswax. Besides honey, which has many traditional uses, such as as a cough suppressant, beeswax can be molded into candles or washed with petrolatum. Other uses of these are: 

  • Products to polish furniture, shoes and metal objects.
  • To make crayons. 
  • To make body butters.
  • Create non-stick sprays for pans. 

Any bee farming owner looking to expand their business can go into the manufacturing of the above products. 

Honey production process in Kenya 

Step 1: Harvest

Three main tools used for harvesting honey are a bee brush, an escape board, and a fume board. A bee brush to sweep the bees out of the way when harvesting honey. The escape board is the “door” that you place in the hive. If the bees transcend the honey, the bees will not be able to find a way back and will drive away all the bees  in about 24 hours. The trigger board is lined with a cloth insert sprayed with bee repellent. Bees dislike the smell of repellents and transcend honey  within minutes

Step 2: Uncap

Uncapping means using a special tool to remove the thin beeswax that covers the honey frame and expose the honey. It is important to minimize damage to the frame when opened. You can reuse the  comb you pulled to get a good start for the bees when refilling the box. The cap (a layer of wax that rubs and cuts the honey frame) contains a significant amount of honey. Strain the honey from the lid and add it to the harvest. Rinse the strained beeswax  with water, store in the refrigerator or freezer, and later dissolve in the beeswax cake

Step 3: Extract

Using centrifugal force with a honey extractor is the fastest way to extract honey if you need to harvest more than a few frames. Beekeeping clubs often have harvesting and brewing parties, or brewing kits that can be borrowed to brew honey with minimal investment. 

Step 4: Filter

When you remove the cap and extract, it’s not just honey. Beeswax, propolis, and even some bee pieces are typical. The large screen uses a two-stage filter or gauze. 

Step 5: Bottling 

When your honey is strained, you can bottle it. The easiest way for beginners to bottle is to use a plastic bucket with a tap at the bottom. Gravity can be used to easily fill the container you want to sell, transfer, or store. As your honey business sales grow, you should consider buying equipment such as jarring tanks and automatic fillers.

Honey processing equipments for sale in Kenya

Equipment Price (KSH)
Langstroth beehive 5,500
Jointed Langstroth beehive 7,500
Bee Smoker 2,500
Bee venom collector 80,000
Beehive scraper tool1,000
Beekeeping brush 500
Beekeeping gloves 500
Beekeeping suit 4,500
Centrifugal honey extracting machine 23,000-45,000
Double sided sieves5,000
Electric uncapping knife 2,500
Hive scraper tool1,000
Honey settling tank2,000
Kenya top bar hive 5,000
Plastic needle roller1,500

How to package your honey jars for sale in Kenya 

Honey is certainly fascinating in itself, but creative packaging ideas help consumers choose your product over others’ honey. Since many types of honey are produced, clear glass honey jars or jars are a good option for selling honey, as honey can speak  itself. The jar shows the natural color and transparency of honey. 

Examples of what must be included on a honey jar label include

  • Type of Honey (example: wildflower honey, clover honey).
  • Net Weight of product. 
  • Ingredients (if anything else but honey is added in the bottle).
  • Business Name and Contact Information.
  • Addiction information required by the Kenyan government for packaged goods. 

In addition to the honey jar information you need, take the time to design a professional brand. Before bottling the first batch of honey, you need to design your logo, slogan and other promotional ideas. Professional labels can get the consumer’s attention in your direction. Schedule and hire experienced designers to create graphics to ensure high quality. If you plan to stay in the honey business, developing a brand that people will recognize will help foster brand loyalty. Think about where your honey products will be sold and wrap them accordingly.

Jakub Borowiec
Jakub Borowiec
Financial markets enthusiast. I studied management at the University of Economics in Wroclaw.

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