Christopher lives in a farm outside of Kitale town. Kitale is located in the Trans-Nzoia district of western Kenya and, at over 6,300 feet above sea level, is one of Africa’s most elevated towns. The rich soil of the area makes it one of the nation's biggest maize producing regions, lending it the nickname of “the breadbasket of Kenya.” Once the maize has been harvested from the fields, many farmers grow sunflowers on their land, which is an excellent source of forage for bees. Furthermore, many farmers have started projects planting bluegum trees, which complement the region’s natural forests and provide bees with a variety of food sources. Kitale is located close to Mount Elgon, an extinct shield volcano that extends into both Uganda and Kenya. The people from around Mount Elgon have been beekeeping for centuries and the area is dense with strong bee colonies.
Christopher is married and has ten children. Both he and his wife are farmers and they are currently growing coffee, avocados, maize, and beans on their land as well as managing a dairy farming project. Christopher is excited to become a beekeeper because the bees will help pollinate his crops and the money from his honey will help him with other projects on his farm.
This is Christopher’s first loan with Honey Care and he plans to use the income to help him educate his children to higher levels. In the future, his hope is to “expand bee-keeping in my farm to ensure I am successful in it.”
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.