Elisha lives and works outside of Kitale town. Kitale is located in the Trans-Nzoia district of western Kenya. Originally dominated by English settlers in the early 20th century, the region’s farmland was redistributed after independence. This left Trans-Nzoia as one of Kenya’s most cosmopolitan areas, with individuals from a variety of linguistic and ethnic groups living in close proximity. The lush soil of the region ensures that farmers can grow a variety of crops, including maize, sunflower, sugar cane, millet, and beans. Kitale is located near Mount Elgon, East Africa's oldest and largest solitary extinct volcano, whose substantial forest cover makes Kitale a high-potential beekeeping region.
Elisha is married, and has seven children. He has been farming for twenty years, and is currently growing maize, tending to an orchard and rearing livestock. Elisha likes beekeeping because the bees require little oversight: it “can’t tie you [to an area] like cattle, for instance.”
This is Elisha’s first loan, and he plans to use the income generated by his beehives to improve his farming activities. His hope for the future is “to educate my children with ease.”
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.