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Honey From S. Sudan Finds New Trade Route Through KenyaWednesday, January 28, 2015 > 09:59:00
South Sudan’s former honey trade route, cut off from decades of war, has found a new distribution route via Kenya and this year’s spring harvest promises to be double last year’s, according to IndependentOnline.
The equatorial forests of South Sudan presented untapped potential for Honey Care Africa, a development charity that has worked in the country since 2013.
Madison Ayer is head of Honey Care Africa. She said the organization saw potential in the embattled country to collect honey from bees immune to the problems that depleted colonies in the U.S. and Europe, Reuters reports.
There’s little hope of re-establishing the south-north honey trade route, given the fraught relations between Sudan and South Sudan which split in 2011, Reuters reports.
So Honey Care Africa is now exporting to Kenya.
The charity has been in Kenya for a decade, but droughts there are problematic for honey production so it sought to expand, and looked to Tanzania. South Sudan had greater untapped potential, according to the report.
Zambia has honey production from wild bees in the rain forests that supports international export and Internet sales.
In Ghana, an entrepreneur from Utah partnered with an Ashanti chief in a remote forest region to produce and export honey to the U.S., according to an earlier report in AFKInsider. The partnership resulted in a honey cooperative in Ghana that has benefited the livelihoods of 3,500 people.
A bee expert in South Sudan’s agriculture ministry, Jabob Moga told Reuters the potential is great for honey exports. “When I get reports of honey exports from countries like Zambia of 300 metric tons and then I look at our forests here, I feel we have much more potential,” he said. “With a little understanding, it’s a good source of income… it’s a win-win kind of activity.”
Reviving honey production could help some of the world’s poorest people recover in one of the world’s least developed countries, according to the report. Honey Care Africa invested $1 million in South Sudan and local farmers have earned more than $75,000, benefiting more than 400 families.
“Building markets with Kenya makes a lot of sense” for South Sudan, said Barbara Gemmill-Herren with the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organisation’s International Pollinator Initiative. But she also urged caution against overoptimism, saying previous forecasts of “rivers of honey” had resulted in disappointment.