Bee farmers in Kakumiro district have resolved to form a SACCO in a bid to address some of the challenges they face in their enterprise.
According to Joseph Serugo, a bee farmer and conservationist with Kayirebwa Chimpanzee Conservancy, since 2010 he and other farmers have been using traditional methods to make beehives and process their honey, but they want to adopt modern ones come April.
In addition, the farmers intend to set up a SACCO with a central collection point where members can bulk their honey that they would then sell at a fair price.
“Plans are in high gear to organize for the modern beehives and establish a SACCO so that things like marketing improve. We are currently earning very little for our honey,” Serugo told theCooperator.
“We are currently earning very little for our honey,” Serugo told the Cooperator.
Serugo, who says he currently earns about Shs 500,000 each season from honey, believes the increased investment in the business will attract more customers and boost his earnings.
Sarah Katono, also a bee farmer and member of the same group, says a SACCO would save them from having to borrow from external lenders who tend to levy prohibitively high-interest rates.
“I want to be able to purchase machines to harvest wax from my bees and add value to it by making items like candles. I am unable to do that currently because the money I get is not enough,” Katono said.
She also hopes that the SACCO can help members push for better honey prices and improve their livelihood.
“I sell my honey at between Shs 5,000- Shs 10,000 to middlemen and also individual customers who buy for their own consumption but I would like to earn more from it,” she said.
Meanwhile, William Lalobo, a private conservationist at Aswa Falls Conservancy and a beekeeper, plans to extract bee venom for export.
“I have already received the machines and will soon begin extraction of the venom,” Lalobo says.
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