Rwandan honey products will soon be available in the main super markets of Europe and Asia, two years after Rwanda secured an international standard certificate to export animal products abroad.
“We would like to market the Rwandan honey by associating it with the natural beauty of Rwanda,” says Esther Su, a Singaporean investor.
Under Apiary Rwanda Ltd, a new company registered in Rwanda, Su has injected $ 3 million in honey production chain for export whereby bee farmers will be supported from equipment acquisition to harvest and packaging.
In a memorandum of understanding signed on August 17, 2015, twelve cooperatives from Gishwati, Nyungwe, Virunga and Akagera beekeeping zones committed to improve the farming so as to increase production from the current 4000 metric tons annually to 8000 metric tons annually in the next three years.
Apiary Rwanda Ltd will provide required materials for honey production, including hives and security equipment on top of training in beekeeping.
Equipment and materials needed will be given under a leasing contract or loans.
To motivate the bee farmers who are now estimated to 80,000, Apiary Rwanda Ltd will also bring a social contribution by paying school fees for their children.
“We are happy to have an investor who provides for a wide market. We will do our best to keep this market,” said Tonny Nsanganira, State Minister in Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Ressources.
Nsanganira referred to a loss whereby in 2012, a few honey products that had qualified for Arab countries’ market was latter disqualified following low standard treatment.
The country put in more efforts to meet standards and later on secured an international certificate to export bee products across the world.
This certificate, says Nsanganira is very difficult to secure, especially for countries in the Third World bloc.
One obtains the certificate after presenting a clean Honey Residue Monitoring Plan, which indicates that the country has measures to prevent honey residues in the products to be exported.
Rwanda’s honey was tested in international laboratories, and it qualified for export to Europe.
It’s up to beekeepers and their new company to keep improving in quality and quantity in a country where apiary is still traditional.
Nsanganira told this website, that there exit 90,000 hives in Rwanda. Over 70% of them are traditional with production capacity of maximum 5 kg per unit annually.
Modern hives can produce up to 100 kg per unit annually, according to the new investor. However, local beekeepers have only produced maximum 40 kg per hive, according to Nsanganira.
“We expect new knowledge from this company. This will enable us to work hard and get more returns,” says Adrien Nyabyenda from Kopanyaka, a cooperative of bee keepers from Nyamasheke, Western Rwanda.
Her cooperative harvests 600 kg of honey per year and sells to local market at Rwf 2000 per kilogram.
The current price of honey on international market stands at $ 4/kg.