The aim of our project is to create a new economic opportunity for 900 pastoral households to diversify livelihoods in the arid and semi-arid land (ASA ) in Kenya districts of Laikipia and Samburu through Bee Products Enterprise Development (BPED) and developing opportunities to market these products. The districts of Laikipia and Samburu are in the middle of Kenya, north of Mount Kenya, and can be seen on the map below.
The anticipated real and practical impact of the 3 year project is on poverty reduction. We have been able to obtain considerable funding for this project from our UK Department for International Aid (DFID), and the project will complement our existing programmes in Kitali, Kerio Valley, Nelbem and Sinyati.
Commercial and community owned bee product enterprises with a sound ethical, environmental and business base creates new economic opportunities for pastoralist men and women. This project will increase economic returns to producers from beekeeping and provide economic incentives to use indigenous natural resources sustainably .The project will focus on capacity building and practical implementation of bee keeping, value addition, branding and market links to build the communities’ capacity to access rewarding local, national and East Africa regional markets.
Creating livelihood diversification from successful bee products enterprises will take pressure off water and grazing in the wider Laikipia/Samburu ecosystem playing a part in protecting natural resources, particularly in the water catchments areas. An improved ecosystem will lead to wider livelihood improvements such as reduced tension and conflict between communities, greater resilience to drought and greater gender equity within the household.
Bee products are culturally and socially acceptable. Honey and wax are already sold in the areas targeted but at a low and disorganised level. The project proposes to build on and expand existing knowledge and practices. Implementing business based systems that will ensure economic viability.
Introducing low cost beekeeping equipment enables scalability to grow to commercial levels in producers chosen time frames. Community cohesion will be supported by the democratic decision making and participation in the enterprise, especially under fair-trade standards. Increased skills and sound management systems will empower producers to operate in a diversity of markets and with different commercial partners.
Better bee management increases local food security due to pollination services. Understanding the need to preserve natural resources for honey production promotes valuing the sustainable natural resources. Increased trade in certified bee products will make operators in this sector aware of the option for responsible management.
The development of the national organic market will increase the awareness among consumers and the farming industry about environmental issues. This will eventually result in a change of attitude and there will be an awareness of the value of natural resources in the ASAL in Kenya and how beekeeping can generate income and help to relieve poverty.