Dripping Gold: On the Hunt for Honey in Kenya

Kenya is not very famous for its honey, but a group of small-time traditional producers hope to change this reputation.

Berta Tilmantaite | | Business & Economy, Poverty & Development, Environment, Africa, Kenya

Marigat, Kenya - Agnes Cheptepkeny motions towards her small tin house where two of the rooms from floor to ceiling are filled with bucketfuls of honey. "This is my bank" she says. 

"When I have money, I buy honey. This is how I save up. And when I need cash, I can sell a bucket or two," tells Cheptepkeny, 53, whose one bucket of honey is worth about $89.

She lives in a town of Marigat, in Baringo County, in the Rift valley. Communities from the Tugen, Ilchamus, and Pokot tribes live here. They are known for their beekeeping and the good quality honey they produce.

Cheptepkeny is from the Tugen tribe and has been selling honey for a long time.

Kenya is not very famous for its honey. Ethiopia and Tanzania are places where the largest amounts of this liquid gold is collected. But the natural landscape in Kenya is similar so beekeeping thrives here as well. Producers are considering avenues for exporting more honey, although they are still becoming familiar with and working to adapt new technologies.

Lack of business knowledge and diminishing interest from younger generations to maintain the beekeeping traditions, as well as the threat of parasites and pesticides used in agriculture, climate change, an unorganised market, and undeveloped infrastructure pose further challenges for their goals. 

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