At the foot of Cherangany Hills, Kabolet
forest a home of indigenous trees with Langstroth beehives perched on the
sturdy branches welcomes one to the livelihood of Abraham Kiprop at Kabolet village
in Cherangany Sub-County, Trans-Nzoia.
The area being the original habitat of the
Sengwer community, an indigenous community that has found home identity and
culture with some using it for spiritual purposes.
The beehives situated at various places and
tree logs of the Kabolet forest creates a source of income for Abraham Kiprop,
a security officer at Mega Center in Kitale town.
“Bee keeping is like a livelihood for
every Sengwer resident. We inherited if from our ancestors. For quite a long
time it’s been locally and for traditional purposes until recently where we
turned into a business a year now to increase our savings. Many have been doing
it locally but now we have a registered business,” said Mr. Kiprop.
When traversing the Sengwer community, one
can notice beehives, a common feature in every homestead.
For a long time, Bee keeping was not taken seriously
as source of income, with many residents selling it at a lower price and as
surplus after having enough at homes.
“No one was expecting to earn much
from honey. In Kenya very few people are into honey business but since I
registered mine it has attracted many from the community. We are looking
forward to make it a community based enterprise,” he says.
Kabolet Forest filled with holes and
traditionally made beehives is source of Sengwer honey with less harvested from
homesteads for commercial use before being processed into containers for
“We harvest our honey from Kabolet
forest and Embobut forest along Cherangany Hills and we also keep bees and sell
to specific interested bee keepers across the counties of Trans Nzoia, West Pokot
and Elgeyo Marakwet,” he added.
Restaurants and patients with the diabetic
condition being his targeted clients, Kiprop distribute the honey across the
His honey goes at Kshs.650, a standard
price by honey distributers in the country.
“I distribute my finally processed
honey to as far as Makueni but majorly in Nairobi where I have quite a number
of customers. In Kitale, I supply at Megabyte Restaurant and other interested
restaurants across town. The most loyal and reliable customers have been the
people with diabetic condition,” he explains.
Honey is a medicinal product used as sweetener
for patients with Diabetis since it facilitates blood sugar level maintenance.
underground honey ‘Kosom’ is used to cure flu in children and also useful to
However, Kiprop says Bee Keeping business
in the country face market issues such as sub-standardized honey, urging the government
to intervene in taming such illegal business and enough provide market avenues.
“The closure of restaurants and
restrictions of movement in some counties majorly Nairobi when COVID-19 struck,
was a blow to my business. A good number of my harvested honey went spoiled.
“There was a massive shortage of
supply which caused a decline in the price of honey. Some were selling as low
as 350 shillings per kg to avoid total loss and lack of market,” he says.
Small enterprises having been hugely
affected by COVID -19, the local sales forms a huge means of survival for many
of his friends in Kabolet that solely depended on the supply of honey.
Though he is still not able to produce
other products from the wax, Kiprop says he sells it to some people with skill
who use it to make varous products like soap.