First person: The owner of a honey company creating a buzz in northern Uganda

Sam Aderubo started his company Honey Pride in Arua, northern Uganda, to make a positive impact on his community. With UN support, the company is taking off and employing hundreds of local beekeepers, many of whom are marginalized women and youth.

“I used to work in an office and people would come to my work to sell ‘West Nile honey’, named after the region I come from. I was interested to see my region being used as a brand and found that West Nile is one of the top ranked regions in Uganda for honey production.

So I decided that I would come back home and start a business to serve my community.

UN News/ Hisae KawamoriSam Aderobu, found from Honey Pride

A requested product

The product is in demand, both locally and internationally, and has positive medicinal and nutritional properties. We realized that there is great potential to produce it on a large scale.

However, many people in this region only collect honey in a traditional way, as a hobby. We decided to guide farmers and give them the necessary skills, because they used to work without any formal support; no one was willing to invest to support them in improving the quality of their honey.

Today we work with more than 1,700 farmers who harvest honey from apiaries on their land. We provide a reliable market for them, which encourages them to produce more.

UN News/ Hisae Kawamori Beekeeper Betty Ayikoru, Arua, Northern Uganda

Economy, environment and society

We believe that bringing beekeeping to a level where farmers understand it as a business will improve their livelihoods; when we started the business in 2015, a kilo of honey was sold for about 3,500 Ugandan shillings. Today it is about 7,000 shillings. This has motivated many farmers to get into beekeeping.

Now they can afford the basic needs and don’t have to worry about going hungry. They can buy goats and other animals and pay for their children’s school fees. Some have even been able to acquire real estate. Beekeeping changes their lives.

Our vision was to be the market leader in selling sustainable beehive products in the Great Lakes area and selling globally. Our products now meet international standards and are accepted in foreign markets.”

We are trying to build a dedicated management team, and many of them are young people. We’re getting help from a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) program that looks at young people’s attitudes to farming and how to motivate them to embrace farming as a source of employment.

The young people we interact with are beginning to realize that they have a big role to play in national development. So while we want to make a profit, we also have a social aspect to what we do.

UN News/ Hisae Kawamori Beekeeper Betty Ayikoru and her family at their home in Arua, Northern Uganda

Overcoming the financial challenges

Finance has been one of our biggest challenges. Due to a lack of financial resources, much of the honey production process is done manually. However, the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has enabled us to obtain funding from the Uganda Development Bank and improve part of our production process.

We now use an electric honey press and were able to purchase a filter machine to improve the quality of our product. We can process about five tons of honey in a month, which is a huge jump in capacity, and I’m sure we can grow that to about 15 tons.

We are very grateful for the support we have received from UNCDF, as it has also helped us improve our operations, increase production and improve the quality of our product.”

,

UNCDF in Northern Uganda

  • UNCDF has been present in Uganda since 1982, supporting the government in creating a functional planning and financial system for sustainable and inclusive local development. Today, Uganda is home to the largest local team in UNCDF’s global footprint.
  • The Northern Uganda Development Initiative (DINU) is UNCDF’s flagship program in the country, designed to consolidate stability in Northern Uganda, eradicate poverty and malnutrition, and strengthen the foundations for sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development.
  • Inclusive Digital Economies (IDE), is the internal practice applying UNCDF’s global digital strategy designed to empower underserved populations to access and use digital services that leverage innovation and technology to enhance their well-being in support of the SDGs.

Visit UN News for more information.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: