Monday, February 12, 2007

Honey Care

  • Honey Care is a rapidly expanding social franchise in Kenya that trains farmers in commercial beekeeping and buys their honey at guaranteed fair-market prices which it then packages and sells for profit.

    Startup costs: US$65 per hive. Typical start with four hives.
    Breakeven: investment pays for itself in 2-3 years
    Impact: 4 hives, 20 minutes a day can result in $150-$300 additional income.

    Keys to success: Low start-up costs. Simple. The company manufactures a special design/high yield beehive. Activity compliments and function in harmony with existing farming practices. Low amount of required input as far as land, labor or knowledge. Partners with MFI's to finance startup costs for individual. Encouraged farmers to put their hives next to each other, increasing the quality of the collective bee colony as well as creating a support system for their clients. Trained in basic math/record keeping. In some cases hives are leased rather than purchased so that in the case of default the asset can be recovered and put into use by another client.

    Threats: most failures due to lack of training or access to ongoing support, often result of unsure responsibilities between Honey Care and the MFI. Must be placed near proper vegetation. Long wait from initial investment to first harvest. Threat of bee stings : )

    I think the guaranteed purchasing of the product goes a long way in building trust and encouraging recruitment of potential clients. Some clients reported being able to sell the honey at a higher price locally than the price offered by Honey Care, in such a case I think Honey Care should allow the clients to sell a certain percentage of their honey locally. My main question is: who is the final buyer of the honey? Can it be competitive in Western markets? How do we get it in Walmart?

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