Honey Care launches new product line to create market for smallholder farmers

Honey Care Africa has launched A new range of re-branded honey and healthy snack products.

David Gachoki, Chief Executive Officer, Honey Care while unveiling the new range of products, said promotion of healthy diets and adequate micro-nutrient intake is critical in the fight against non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

“Our goal is to produce healthy products for all age-sets that is affordable. We also want to have more engagement with the bee-keepers so that we can increase their honey production economic well-being” said Gachoki.

Some of the new products launched include Peanut and Cashew nut butter laced with honey, the Yenoh Bitez crackers a healthy snack packed with nutritional benefits and made with all-natural ingredients such as honey, sesame seeds and peanuts.

New honey varieties laced with tantalising flavours such as Cinnamon, Mint and Lemon were also unveiled. For those who prefer to narrow it to the area of production, a premium range of honey which includes Highland Honey harvested from highly vegetative areas and rich in medicinal value; Acacia Honey from arid and semi-arid areas full of acacia trees which gives it a sweet distinct taste and Select Harvest Honey which is harvested from distinct areas was at hand.

The company, threw its weight on developing nutritional products aimed at reducing micronutrient deficiency among women and children.

Kenya grapples with two burdens of nutrition-under nutrition and over nutrition. At the national level, research indicates that 35 per cent of children less than five years are stunted,16 per cent are underweight (particularly high in urban slums) and 7 per cent are wasted.

 

“We are launching high quality and nutritious honey products and snacks in a way that creates impact and value, while creating a ready market for bee-keepers across the country,” he added.

Mr Gachoki said the new strategy is to help more beekeepers increase honey production which he said was in its death bed.

He attributed the dwindling honey production to a myriad of challenges including, reduction in honey bee colonies, climate change effects and toxicity of the pesticides towards pollinators.

Run-away environmental degradation, he added, is a major threat to the ecosystem of the pollinators.

“We are now embarking on sensitising farmers on the need to avoid cutting trees since this will lead to reduction in bee colonies hence low honey production,” he added.

The European Commission has banned three of the most widely applied insecticides due to the risk posed to bees and other pollinators. The April ban covered thiamethoxam, imidacloprid and clothianidin.

A 2013 survey showed that farmers in various parts of Kenya do not follow pesticide usage advice — like avoiding application in the morning, when pollinators are active. Often they are unaware of the potential toxicity of pesticides available in local agro-vets towards pollinators.

There is need therefore, to advise beekeepers on environmentally safe methods of applying pesticides and the safe frequencies to minimise honey bee exposure, added Gachoka.

Robin Mbae, deputy director apiculture and climate change at the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation said that multiplication of bee colonies was critical in honey production.

“As a ministry we are developing legal framework to ensure that the issue of sporadic spraying of harmful pesticides to the pollinators are minimised,” he added.

The ministry, Mr Mbae noted, has embarked on what he termed as ‘bee bulking’ initiatives across several stations to aid in increasing bee colonies for more honey production.

“We are already multiplying bee colonies in Matuga, Marimanti and Kakamega with an aim of providing beekeepers with colonies to increase honey production across the country,” said Mbae who represented the Permanent Secretary for livestock, ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.

He urged bee farmers to form market clusters to sell their honey rather than doing so at individual outlets “since this will lead to better price bargains.

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