Gilbert lives and works close to Cherengani, near Kitale town. Kitale is located in the Trans-Nzoia district of western Kenya. At over 6,300 feet above sea level, it 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 blue gum trees on their land, which complements the region’s natural forests and provides 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.
Gilbert is married and has five children. He farms and works as an assistant chief for a nearby constituency, a position in the local government, and his wife is a homemaker. Him and his wife have been farming for more than twenty years, and are currently growing maize, vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes and green peppers.
This is Gilbert’s first loan, and he plans to use the income generated by his beehives to invest in his land and pay his children’s school fees.
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.