Eliud lives and works close to Kimilili, near 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.” Many farmers in the region have started projects planting bluegum trees on their land, which complement the region’s natural forests and provide bees with a variety of food sources. The people around Kitale have been beekeeping for centuries, and the area is dense with strong bee colonies.
Eliud is married, and has thirteen children and many grandchildren. He and his wife have been farming for forty years, and are currently growing maize, coffee and bananas on their land, as well as tending to plantations of indigenous trees. Eliud wanted to become a beekeeper because “bees provide honey which is medicinal as well as an income.”
This is Eliud’s first loan, and he plans to use the income generated by his beehives to help “educate and provide my children and grandchildren with basic necessities.” When asked about his hopes for the future, Eliud wished that “I will have good source of income in my old age.”
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.