Thursday, October 14, 2010

All sweet for honey producers in Dowa

A few months ago, Siverio Kamera, 42, a member of Ngala Club in
Dowa was getting disillusioned by the lack of progress in his
newly found source of livelihood, beekeeping.
Having joined Ngala Club in 2006, Siverio was finding the going
tough as the project was failing to make any meaningful head
“The bees were not producing enough honey to make any
profitable business. And worse still, the harvesting was proving
to be a risky business, as on every occasion I would be stung
due to lack of protective clothing,” recalls Siverio.
Ngala started on a humble note with only four beehives.
However, they realized that on their own, the project would
crumble. So they approached Concern for support and guidance.
“After seeing our perseverance and determination, Concern
helped us with 50 beehives. They also trained us in honey
processing,” recalls Siverio, adding, “Besides the beehives and
training, Concern also gave us bee suits. This was a great boost
as previously we were harvesting without any protective
clothing, which was dangerous.”
The relationship with Concern changed the fortunes
of the group’s members. When they started, Ngala
members could only manage about 10-18kg from four
The quantities were too low to make any significant
impact on their lives. With support from Concern,
the group’s production has grown tremendously with
a single beehive producing between 8-10 kilogrammes.
“We were selling unprocessed honey, which meant
greater quantity for a lesser amount. The training by
Concern equipped us with processing skills and now
we are bottling our produce. This has greatly boosted
our sales. Before we were selling the same amount at
MK150 but now the price has increased to MK500,”
says a proud Siverio.
He adds: “We harvest twice per year and I am
able to get MK10, 000 on each harvest. This
money has helped me pay school fees for my
children and also buy basic necessities for my
family. I also use part of the money to buy fertilizer
for my field.”
Another beneficiary from Ngala whose life has
changed for the better is Theresa Makanjira.
Theresa says before joining the group, she used
to solely rely on her husband for support.
“I used the profits from the honey I harvested
last year to buy food and a goat, which now has
one kid. Our life has changed because we are
now two heads with some income in the family,”
says Theresa.
Concern has initiated a process of linking Ngala
Club to other markets to boost their sales, which
will eventually see the group becoming self

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