Young entrepreneur Sam Odongo, 30, and his eco-responsible beekeeping business Apiway Bees in Uganda’s Lira District were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why Sam joined our member Cordaid Uganda’s Youth Agribusiness Project, part of our Futuremakers programme supported by Standard Chartered Foundation, where he received training in business and financial management, with emphasis on saving for investment, business risk management, goal setting and digital marketing.
“Honey can be a dynamic sector of the green economy. When beekeeping and production are done right, honey producers help safeguard biodiversity, which is what I want for my community in Adekokwok sub county, Lira District, Uganda.”
Sam started his business Apiway Bees in 2018 after completing a bachelor’s degree in economics and statistics, before choosing the path of Apiculture. He has a total of 55 Bee colonies which allows him to produce an annual average of 300kg of products from the honey value chain. Lira City is his main market, although Sam is keen to explore export opportunities to Kenya and Rwanda. He started Apiway Bees with 7 beekeepers, who have now grown to 67. They supply his business with good quality honey, bee venom and other products from the honey value chain. The business has engaged the local community by training rural beekeepers the principles of eco-responsible apiculture, with emphasis on the crucial role it plays in environmental conservation.
The business has promoted eco-responsible beekeeping as an effective means to help conserve trees and wetlands, and has directly contributed to the planting of about 1 million trees around communities in Lira District. Less cutting of trees means there are more trees, which means more food for bees and thus more honey, so there’s a win-win for beekeepers to protect the local ecosystem, says Sam.
Sam notes that during the last 12 months, his business has grown by 33%, worked with over 67 beekeepers and employed two full-time staff and 28 part-time workers. Sam anticipates that his business will grow by about 45% this year. He plans to work with even more beekeepers and establish a mentorship programme for bee farmers. He says:
“Through resilience, endurance, dedication, and technical support from Cordaid Uganda, I have been able to navigate through the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown measures that threatened the existence of my business.”