South Sudan finds hope in honey

2015-01-26 16:32

(File) (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - A harvest of honey from the equatorial forests of South Sudan will help its struggling poor and, through the pollination of bees, improve the nation's crop yields, those involved say.

Spring production over the coming weeks is expected to deliver 60 tonnes, double the volume of an initial batch of exports last year to Kenya.

South Sudan's honey harvests had suffered because decades of fighting closed off the former main trade route through the north.

"Honey production is not a panacea. We're not trying to save the country or eliminate the conflict, but we do want to do our part," Madison Ayer, head of development charity Honey Care Africa, told Reuters.

High potential 

Honey Care Africa has been working since 2013 in South Sudan, where it sees potential to collect honey from bees immune to the problems that have depleted colonies in the US and to a lesser extent in Europe.

The charity has worked in Kenya for a decade, but droughts can be a problem for honey-making there so it sought to expand. It looked at Tanzania, but decided South Sudan had greater untapped potential.

Zambia too has developed production sufficiently to allow international export and internet sales of honey from wild bees that live in rain forests.

"There is high potential indeed. When I get reports of honey exports from countries like Zambia of 300 metric tonnes and then I look at our forests here, I feel we have much more potential," Jabob Moga, a bee expert in South Sudan's agriculture ministry, told Reuters by telephone.

"With a little understanding, it's a good source of income... It's a win-win kind of activity."

Source of income

Honey Care Africa has invested $1 million in South Sudan and local farmers have received income of more than $75 000, benefiting more than 400 families.

While Sudan's oil wealth helped to fuel the conflict, corruption and rivalry that led South Sudan to be split off from Sudan, reviving honey production can aid recovery among the poorest in one of the world's least developed countries.

"When I get the money from the honey, I pay the school fees of my children. I buy other things like sugar, tomatoes, onions. I keep some money with me for emergencies in case my children get sick," Lilian Sadia James, one of the South Sudanese bee keepers working with Honey Care, said.

Relations between Sudan and South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011, remain fraught, leaving little hope of re-establishing the south-north route.

Honey Care Africa therefore is exporting to Kenya with a view to eventually shipping more widely.

At the UNs' Food and Agricultural Organization Barbara Gemmill-Herren of the International Pollinator Initiative said "building markets with Kenya makes a lot of sense" for South Sudan. But she also cautioned that previous projections of "rivers of honey" had disappointed. 

Read more on:    un  |  south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.