In February 2020, the years 2020 to 2030 were declared as the new decade of financial and economic inclusion of women by the Member States of the African Union. Engaging in this decade, the AU was very keen to immediately start working on recommendations for expanding opportunities for women entrepreneurs on the continent, making them key players in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The continental market promises to provide opportunities for women to make a meaningful contribution and improve their trading conditions across the continent. Investing in African women entrepreneurs is a smart and innovative approach, especially for women living in rural areas, as it is one of the key solutions to the recovery of the African economy after the CoVID-19 pandemic. One of the sectors in which women play a vital role and are poised to make a contribution to the economy to also improve the lives of many people, is the growing and nascent activity of beekeeping, the term official for beekeeping or honey cultivation.
Mainly used to sweeten our teas, cure a sore throat, and sometimes included in skincare products, the yellow-gold colored liquid known as honey has so many uses. A Google search for its uses presents an overabundance of articles and tips for using it. However, what is slowly becoming the conversation on the continent is the huge economic benefits of the business and how the industry can be used to diversify the continent’s income.
Mmabatho (Portia) Morudi of The Village Market SA
After giving notice and quitting his job to begin his journey as a beekeeper at his grandfather’s call in 2012, Mmabatho Morudi noticed that the livelihoods of bees were under threat in South Africa and the country was failing to was not producing enough honey. What also caught her attention was how farmers in her community could use the aid to improve their products due to insufficient marketing of their products. This is how she came up with the creative idea of providing a solution while experiencing the industry simultaneously.
The idea was to educate and empower these farmers with beehives to help pollinate their produce and improve crop yields. Once the produce was harvested, Morudi bought them from the farmers, packed them and delivered them to customers. It has become a successful and unique business model. Currently, she travels through different rural communities and empowers them by allowing them to make honey that they can resell.
Each product of the Morudi company is part of an ecosystem that provides a solution to the ever increasing challenges of food insecurity, poverty and nutrition, unemployment and environmental problems. By training and empowering farmers in ecological beekeeping, it is playing its role in changing one rural community at a time across South Africa, creating a better future for generations.
Madvee Muthu of bees with stories
Bees with Stories is a new and innovative company, which was registered in January 2018, by the Mauritian Madvee Muthu. The Bees with Stories is a brand of bee products obtained and exported exclusively from Africa. The brand has a very specific vision: to ensure that Bees with Stories products are present in all the leading markets, not only to add to the emerging narrative that African products can be both of excellent quality and attractive to eyes, but also be profitable. for the communities behind it. The Bees with Stories business model is relatively simple, it is based on two pillars: the first is to create a branding and marketing strategy, to form a distribution network for groups of beekeepers ready to export to whom to sell products; the second is to partner with resident technical associates and beekeeper groups to advance their methods to become export ready.
Apart from Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania which produce the majority of the continent’s honey, other large markets are emerging such as Nigeria and South Africa. The growing sector has a bright future globally which could be an opportunity for Africa to further exploit the trade in honey and its products.
Sources: https://au.int/en/pressreleases/20200214/promising-projections-new-decade-african-womens-financial-and-economic https://venturesafrica.com/oando-plc-to-host-5th-edition-of-its-webinar-series-themed-covid-19-vaccinating-the-shadow-pandemic/