Henry lives and works outside of Kamukuywa, near Kitale town in the Trans-Nzoia district of western Kenya. His home is located close to the Ugandan border and Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano which straddles the two nations and even has a peak. Founded by European settlers in the early 1900s, Kitale originally grew due to its proximity to the Ugandan railway, which has fallen into a state of disrepair in recent years. The area around Kitale is filled with natural forests, and maintenance of tree cover on behalf of the area’s residents has helped both preserve the region’s soil and ensured that the area remains good for beekeeping. Kitale is the headquarters of the Kenya Seed Company, whose massive sunflower plantations provide nearby bees with a veritable buffet of high-quality forage.
Henry is married and has nine children. Both he and his wife have been farming for 35 years and are currently growing maize, vegetables and ground nuts on their land. Henry is excited to start beekeeping because "bees have no cost to keep and they are important to the ecosystem."
This is Henry's first loan, and he plans to use the proceeds to educate his children, and the children of his brother, who are now orphans. When asked about his hope for the future, Henry said he wants "to live a more gratifying life together with my children and those of my late brother."
About Honey Care Africa
Honey Care Africa (HCA) is a for-profit social enterprise that trains smallholder farmers to become commercial honey producers and provides ongoing support for hive owners. Founded in Kenya in 2000, it is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization and aims to increase the income of rural farmers throughout East Africa.
Kiva lenders’ funds will help HCA make loans in the form of a certain number of beehives per family to jumpstart income. This new approach will simplify the process of hive purchase and honey production and will enable HCA to reach many more farmers. Farmers will repay the organization the same way they would for a typical loan.
This Kiva loan will be used to provide borrowers with needed goods or services, as opposed to cash or financial credit.