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How RUTSIRO Honey Factory is changing lives of beekeepers

For many years, beekeepers in the western province practice traditional beekeeping techniques and could hardly get the market for the produce.

This, according to beekeepers was a challenge for them as their profession was not progressing and yet some depended on it or used it to complement on their farming activities.

It was not until when beekeepers started working Rutsiro Honey ltd that they started improving their businesses.

Thanks to Rutsiro Honey Ldt, beekeepers   acquired training on modern beekeeping techniques, were supported to buy modern equipment including beehives and related equipment all aimed at boosting honey production.

The factory also buys the produce beekeepers get.

For beekeepers, the existence of Rutsiro honey Ltd was a relief and a boost to their business, which has been traditional for years.

 “Before we practiced traditional beekeeping and used traditional beehives,” David Twizeyimana, President of CODAC says as he pints at a traditional bee hives.

Now he says such beehives are used to attract bees before they are transferred to modern beehives known as langstrote or Kenyane, according to Twizeyimana.

Now, the history has changed. Twizeyimana and other beekeepers in the western province practice modern beekeeping after they started working with Rutsiro Honey Ltd.

Rutsiro honey ltd is located in Kigeyo Sector Rutsiro District and operates under the National Industrial research and Development Agency (NIRDA).

Through the facility beekeepers have acquired training on best beekeeping practices, received modern equipment and it buys the whole produce from beekeepers before it is processed and packaged.

“The produce was too small {before we started working with Rutsiro honey plant}, we could only harvest between 300kg and 600Kg but now we harvest between 3tonnes and 4tonnes, this means that the produce increases and lives have improved,” Twizeyimana adds.

It was not easy for a member to get money, the only market we had was UNICOAPIGI (the union of cooperatives) and it had limited capacity, sometimes we could take the produce there and waited for payment later,” he notes.

Twizeyimana says that now Rutsiro honey Ltd works with UNICOAPIGI and beekeepers get their money as long as they take the produce there.

“No members can fail to buy a plot of land as UNICOAPIGI offers loans and we pay once we sell honey, all is thanks to the honey Ltd.” He boasts.

What do other beekeepers say

“I was poor before I joined cooperative. But after I joined my living conditions improved, as a beekeeper, I get honey and sell it, I manage to pay community health insurance, I pay school fees for three children,” Felicite Nyirahabimana testifies.

“Besides, I bought a cow and plot of land in a model village, before Rutsiro honey Ltd started our honey produce got spoiled due to lack of market but now we sell off the whole produce as soon as we get it,” adds the mother of six.

“Over the past three years, I managed to buy a cow, and I supported my one of my children to create a job and she now runs a restaurant,I pay school fees for my children,” Nyirahabyarimana Felesta said

Emelienne Mukasine another member of CODAC said that in addition to the training on best beekeeping practices she managed to solve many problems thanks to the plant.

“I bought a plot of RW 600 000 and I have started building a house on it. I bought a cow of RW 250 000 and it produced twice and I sold the heifers for savings and I am now able to solve any problem in my family.” Mukasine adds.

Celestin Uwimana, another beekeeper says he managed to build a house he had never had for years.

“When I started this career as a beekeeper, I did not have a house but now I live in my own house, I pay school for all my children and manage to solve other problems and my family is happy”

 Marie Chantal, Nyirakamineza, the president of Rutsiro Honey Ltd says that beekeepers have benefited a lot from the factory by acquiring modern materials and training to increase the production.

She says that the factory buys the produce from all five cooperatives and pays them at a better price than before.

 “ We are working with 5 cooperatives that involved in beekeeping, we help them get modern materials ( Modern beehives, clothes, boots and others used in the profession) and we train them how they can boost their productivity,” she says.

She adds that after the factory started, beekeepers no longer practice traditional beekeeping for family consumption but supply honey to the factory and get a lot of money that they use to improve livelihood.

The Rutsiro Honey ltd produces quality of honey that is available on the market from across the country. It employees 7 permanent staff and 15 casual employees.


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