Honey: that delicious sticky, sweet treat you see on supermarket shelves. It comes from somewhere. And, thanks to one of Kiva's field partners, Honey Care Africa, honey producers in Kenya are now getting fairly compensated for the honey they help make by raising bees. 

As of right now, there are 11 loans posted for entrepreneurs looking to make extra money by purchasing beehives for honey production. But when you raise bees with Honey Care, you get much more than the hives, you get the technical and market support to build a viable business. That's why we here at Kiva are so thrilled to be working with them. 

Honey Care is a for-profit social enterprise that provides smallholder farmers in rural parts of Kenya with the tools, training and market access necessary for them to become commercial honey producers. Founded in 2000, the organization is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization, guaranteeing a competitive fixed purchase price for honey on a contract basis. This enables borrowers to repay their loans quickly  and sell their product in a stable market. 

By working with Honey Care, farmers learn how to raise bees to produce a particularly flavorable and long-lasting strain of honey. To make this possible, the organization's seasoned staff actually works directly with farmers to set up and help them maintain their hives. With the extra income earned from selling honey through Honey Care, these farmers are able to invest in growing their existing farms -- and their children's educations. 

As a Kiva lender, you have the opportunity to help small farmers purchase additional beehives an pump up their revenues. And by making a loan, you are participating in a virtuous experiment with Honey Care: to maximize the income of rural farmers throughout East Africa and meet Millennium Development Goals.

One thing you might notice when you look at the list of Honey Care borrowers is that they are all men. We also know that men get funded slower than women borrowers on Kiva. But keep in mind that nearly all of these borrowers have large families, and value educating their children. We hope you'll take that into account, especially after meeting some of the exceptional men and fathers borrowing through Honey Care.

Like Paulo.

Paulo lives with his wife and five children in the town of Kitale. The residents of this region have worked hard to resist deforestation, maintaining tree cover that creates ideal conditions for beekeeping. It's also neighbored by gigantic sunflower plantations, providing ample forage for bees.

Paulo has been running his farm for 13 years, growing maize, livestock, bananas and vegetables. He's excited to expand into beekeeping because it will boost his family's income significantly without taking up too much of his time. He plans to use the income generated by his new hives to pay for his children's education.

Then there's Peter.

Peter lives close to Paulo in Kitale, and has owned his plot of land for a whopping 28 years! During that time, his family has grown and harvested maize, vegetables, beans and sunflowers. They also raise livestock and are very conscientious about maintaining the forest that covers their land.

Peter is married with five children. He and his wife are both experienced farmers, who work together every day to produce enough for their family and to sell. When asked, Peter said he was thrilled to have the opportunity to improve his farming practices by working with Honey Care to start beekeeping. He plans to invest his additional income in providing for his family's needs.

Make a loan to a honey producer today. Make a loan through Honey Care Africa.

Have questions about our partnership with Honey Care? Send them our way at blog@kiva.org.

About the author

Camille Ricketts

Camille brings her passion for storytelling to Kiva, where she helps create and curate online content. A longtime journalist, she started her career reporting on arts and culture for the Wall Street Journal in London and New York. In 2008, she joined San Francisco-based blog VentureBeat, writing about  green technology, policy and finance. Most recently, she worked in public relations for electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors. Outside of work, Camille volunteers as a web designer for maternal health nonprofit Saving Mothers. She holds a B.A. in women's history from Stanford University, where she also served as editor in chief of The Stanford Daily.