Female entrepreneur ventures into flavoured honey production

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Female entrepreneur ventures into flavoured honey production
Female entrepreneur ventures into flavoured honey production

Africa-Press – Rwanda. Jeanne Sheila Uwibona, a Rwandan Female Entrepreneur, has launched a Honey Processing Facility, in Kinyinya Sector, Gasabo District, aimed at modernizing value addition to honey and beekeeping.

Uwibona started the honey business by buying from other people and cooperatives and later secured land in Kabuga, in Gasabo District, where she started her own apiary with few beehives.

Currently, she told Doing Business, that she has 260 modern beehives that supplies the Honey processing Facility under the Brand of “Shelia’s Honey Processing Facility” located in

The honey business came as a sustainable business after her social enterprise-Women Farmers Enterprise- which she started to support vulnerable groups of community.

She started a business to supply vegetables and fruits to restaurants in Kigali city in 2017. Uwibona uses 10 per cent of her profits to support disabled women, women living with HIV/AIDS and children who were born with the virus among others.

“I thought of a sustainable business-honey business- that could improve my financial capacity to support such people. I currently produce 12 products of processing honey including pure honey as well as flavored honey infused with Chili, ginger, garlic , Moringa, Sesame, Chocolate, tiger nuts, Macadamia, among others,” she said. She said that products have a high demand adding she looks to tap into the export market.

The honey processing facility produces 12 products of honey

She said that she is working with three beekeeping cooperatives adding she plans to open honey collection points across the country in every district.

“We have also to train beekeepers on modernizing the sector to get enough and quality produce to get profits. This is because there is a market for honey but the production is not enough to satisfy the demand,” she said.

Lack of knowledge and adequate information on beekeeping, use of traditional beehives and pesticide are still the major challenges causing low honey production in Rwanda.

According to figures from Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, the current production of honey is estimated to be only 5,600 metric tonnes per year against a demand of 17,000 tonnes.

Jeanne Sheila Uwibona and a shareholder-Chester Leer at the honey processing facility in Kinyinya sector, Gasabo district.

In June 2014, Rwanda got accreditation to export the product to the EU after its honey was found to meet required quality standards. However, low output has continued to deny the country of potential foreign exchange revenues.

Figures show that in the fiscal year 2019/20, Rwanda exported 3,319 kilogrammes of honey to the EU, generating $14,035 (about Rwf13 million). Uwibona said that the beekeepers’ cooperatives that she works with supplies between 500 and 1,000 Kilogrammes of honey every week to her processing facility.

“I urge beekeepers to increase honey production and embrace best practices in harvesting, transporting and storage to ensure quality,” she said.

She noted that pesticides are among the major threats to honey production. “We have to avoid farming near the apiary. Instead we should plant trees and vegetation that attract bees,” she said.

She said the bees also need some feeds adding she is feeding with feeds imported from Egypt. The entrepreneur currently employs 20 people in the honey processing chain.

“We are closely working with Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority and Rwanda Standards Board to ensure quality and standards of our products,” she said.

Gaining shareholder

In early this year, Uwibona received a shareholder, named Chester Leer. “I came from the US in March seeking to do business in Rwanda,” he said, explaining how he met Uwibona and discussed partnership.

“From beehive farm, we now have a honey processing facility,” he said, adding that they are also working with beekeepers cooperatives to get enough raw materials.

According to figures, there are more than 83,000 beekeepers in the country and 465,000 bee hives including 300,000 traditional hives (log hives), 75,000 langstroth hives, and 90,000 top bar hives as of last year.

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