KENYA – The beekeeping industry in Kenya has received a boost from the Turkish Cooperation & Coordination Agency (TIKA), Turkey’s leading development aid agency. 

Kenya is among the top honey producers in Africa and holds up solid links with Turkey.

The National Beekeeping Institute (NBI), Kenya’s government institution for training on apiculture, production of bee equipment and control of product quality, received a shipment of equipment from Turkey to help advance the quality of honey produced in the East African country. 

” We’re very glad that we’ve gotten support from the Turkish government. This is really significant for us as our institute, the National Beekeeping Institute, lacked some very crucial equipment,” Hillary Kimutai, the principal secretary of the State Department for Livestock, told Anadolu Agency (AA) in the capital Nairobi. 

Digital refractometers, which aid in determining moisture content in honey, were among the equipment delivered by TIKA’s Nairobi coordinator Eyüp Yavuz Umutlu. Other equipment includes a nitrogen generator, which allows for the testing of antibiotic contamination in honey, and tools to aid in streamlining training and meetings at the National Beekeeping Institute, including digital projectors, printers and laptops.

Umutlu was ecstatic as the institute can now easily assess honey for antibiotics, pesticides, and sugar levels thus broadening the country’s honey market.

“We’re very happy to be here because we know that honey production is one of the crucial areas for Kenya,” he expressed.

According to the NBI, the last country outside of Africa to hold its hand was Canada, back in the 1980s.

Kimutai chaperoned the handover of the equipment, which cost 5 million Kenya shillings ( US$45,725.07) from TIKA.

The principal secretary appreciated Turkey for supporting the country in its endeavor to attain complete food and nutrition security, one of the East African country’s key agendas. 

“It has really been difficult to verify the safety of what we are producing and more specifically honey. This equipment will support this institute and support the state department for livestock,” he stated.

Further, he noted that the equipment will allow the Kenyan apiculture sector to tap into East African markets, augmenting sales and enhancing the livelihoods of small-scale beekeepers. 

“To the Turkish people who have donated this equipment, we want to thank them and the sacrifice they have made. I want to tell them that they have brought change to this other land. We’re taking this message to the beekeepers to tell them what we can do is because of the Turkish government,” Kimutai added.

According to AA, Jane Kariuki, a chief lab technician at the institute, informed that lack of a nitrogen generator incapacitated their use of the equipment earlier acquired in 2016. 

“We tested for tetracycline with data using the connected components. The Turkish aid will keep our farmers as busy as bees. Our market will grow thanks to the Turkish aid, we’ll be able to collect samples to convince our East African community that our honey is good as we head towards the European market,” she remarked.

Honey market

In line with farmbizafrica, the global honey market is currently worth Sh 1.2 trillion (US$ 12 billion), with the demand greatly exceeding supply.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), records that Kenya produces approximately 7300 tonnes of honey annually. This is 700 tonnes less than what is produced in the neighboring country, Tanzania. USAID, further voices that each of the two countries have a potential to produce about 100,000 tonnes of honey each year.

The agency highlights Ethiopia as the region’s powerhouse in the honey export market with an estimated production of 45,300 tonnes.

Data from the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics illustrates that Kenya imports honey worth sh23 million (US$228,604), from Tanzania, Egypt and Australia.

The United Arabs Emirates (UAE), the world’s richest honey market, is the major market for the continent’s honey where it fetches ksh 1500-2000 (US$ 15-20) per kilogram. These prices could scale to ksh 5000 (US$ 50) per kilogram if the honey gets a fairtrade and organic certifications.