The honey value chain in eastern Africa is reported to be growing steadily with annual honey production valued at approximately USD 37 million for Uganda and Rwanda only. The growth in demand for honey is partly attributed to disposable income growth, popularity of healthy eating and population growth. Statistics indicate that the per capita consumption of sweets made from processed sugar in Africa is 2kg with Kenya alone having the highest rate at 3.5kg. This illustrates the tremendous opportunity to provide healthier sweet alternatives to processed sugar.
Most of the bee keepers in the region use traditional basket or log hives which are characterized by both low quantities and quality of honey. Moreover, the traditional hives must be destroyed after the honey is harvested and others made for recolonization. The current recommended top bar and langstroth hives are quite expensive for the majority of bee keepers in the region.
The project will address these challenges through value addition of honey to produce high quality aroma honey toffee sweets as a healthier alternative to sweets made from processed sugar. Additionally, bamboo hives will be used by beekeepers in this project to not only increase honey production but also harvest good quality honey. Bamboo is a renewable forest resource that easily regenerates and will therefore conserve the environment. Bamboo hives offer a cheaper, long lasting alternative and will produce the same quantities of honey as the top bar or Langstroth hives. In so doing, the project will formalize and introduce aroma honey toffee on the eastern Africa market and beyond.
Aroma honey toffees are sweets containing 75% honey and 25% dairy products, groundnuts, coconuts and spices without any processed sugar. The product is a registered trade mark in Uganda. Rather than traditional hives that involve cutting trees, the project will use hives made from bamboo whose growth habit involves regeneration were the older shoots naturally die off. Mature stems will be harvested and used for production of the bamboo hives.
Local and Regional benefits
Aroma honey toffee sweets offer a healthier option for the population in eastern Africa and at the same time an opportunity for improved farm gate prices and additional income for beekeepers.
- Aroma Honey Toffee Ltd, Uganda
- Consortium for Enhancing University Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development Ltd. (CURAD), Uganda
- Union of Bee keepers of Gishwati (UNICOAPIGI), Rwanda
- Solongo Rehabilitation Group, Kenya
Sarah Mubiru – Aroma Honey Toffee Ltd, Uganda