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Self-Help Group enables Kirinyaga bee farmers enjoy sweet returns

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Through the Kanjikomu Self-Help Group, Kirinyaga farmers have begun tasting honey farming’s sweet returns.

The 24-member group has so far had two harvests totaling 200 kilograms, selling each kilogram of the raw honey for Sh1,000 to an Israeli buyer sourced online. 

Initially founded as a table banking association, members pivoted to beekeeping after taking a course on beekeeping from Njuki Nene (Big Bee)– a renowned bee-keeping trainer in Kiangai Sub-County.

“We initially bought 10 hives and the county government supplemented us with 24 more,” said Group Vice-Chairman Gerald Muriithi.

Located in Gichugu Constituency, the group was one of the 19 organisations that were the initial recipients of 456 modern top bar bee hives and honey harvesting kits through Governor Ann Waiguru’s Wezesha Kirinyaga project.

According to the governor, “The impetus for our investment in a modern apiary value chain is the outstanding demand for honey both locally and abroad as the world becomes more health conscious and appreciates the medicinal value of honey.”

Evans Kabutu, the group’s chairperson said that previous to this the group relied on traditional bee hives that yielded little honey. “With this improved equipment we have been able to shift from farming to agribusiness.”

Farms around the hives have also seen an improvement in coffee and maize harvests due to improved pollination. According to the group’s members bees are also economical requiring little input in cost, time, and effort.

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