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Limuru entrepreneur launches honey processing plant that will buy produce from all-comers

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Wilson Karanja, a Limuru based farmer cum entrepreneur has launched a honey processing plant that will provide market for farmers across Kenya.

“Local and international demand for honey is high, however, Kenya’s honey production is so low to meet the demand and as such I would like to drive production by farmers in Kenya,” said Karanja.

Currently, Karanja sources more than half of honey for his plant from Tanzania.

According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Kenya produces an estimated 7300 tonnes of honey annually against a demand of 100,000 tonnnes. To bridge the supply gap, Kenya imports honey worth approximately Sh23m every year from Tanzania, Egypt and Australia according to the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics.

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Honey processing at Karanja’s plant in Limuru. Courtesy 

In advocating for more honey production in the country, Karanja seeks to produce more pure honey as there is a lot of fake honey circulating in the market.

According to the National Beekeeping Institute, 30 per cent of honey delivered for testing in August 2019 was found to be substandard, compromised in quality or adulterated.

“I am recruiting farmers from all corners to set up apiaries in their regions, in this, they can form a group for to enable easy collection of the produce,” said Karanja.

In this, the price will be negotiated between the seller and the buyer.

“The impact of keeping more bees locally is that communities will be empowered economically, people will also realize benefits in crop pollination and in health for reduced risks of heart attack, strokes and some types of cancer,” said Karanja.

Karanja’s plant has the capacity to process 1500kg of honey weekly for local consumption and export to the international markets such as the United Arab Emirates where demand is high with a kilo fetching at least Sh1500, double the price in Kenya.

Currently his processed honey has been taken to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) for testing and certification to enable him sell to supermarkets and for exports.

“My brand is called Bounty Forest Honey and I have already started selling it in bars, hotels and lodges. I sell a kilo at Sh800, 500g at Sh400, 300g at Sh300 and a dozen with 33g sachets retails at Sh420,” he said.

He has employed three permanent people at the plant.

Karanja can be reached on +254 725 906 721.

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