Joseph Kadendula is the CEO of Swahili Honey, a remarkable brand that is revolutionizing the world of sustainable beekeeping and honey production. With a passionate commitment to empowering rural smallholder farmers and traditional beekeepers, Swahili Honey provides a platform for these farmers to take control of their lives and livelihoods. Through their expert guidance and support, Joseph and his team ensure the production of high-quality honey, showcasing the exceptional craftsmanship and dedication of these farmers. Swahili Honey's focus on sustainability and community empowerment sets them apart, making them a driving force in the industry. DeliveryRank finds out more.
What can you tell us about Swahili Honey’s ‘bumble’ beginnings and the inspiration that lies behind its creation?
So basically, everything started with my realization of the struggles farmers were facing in accessing direct markets for their produce. Before getting involved in honey production, I myself had experience in farming and understood the challenges firsthand.
In our area, farmers didn't have direct access to the market and had to rely on middlemen to sell their products. This lack of control over pricing and dependence on intermediaries posed significant obstacles. While exploring various options, I discovered the potential in honey production.
I began with small steps, but soon realized the high demand outweighed our current production capacity. That's when I decided to share this opportunity with other farmers. I knew I could guide and support them in producing the quality honey the market desired. Instead of merely being producers, we formed partnerships, creating a sustainable business model. We continue to work closely with smallholder farmers, teaching them beekeeping techniques and ensuring they harvest high-quality honey.
Additionally, we offer a reliable market for their produce. This approach sets us apart from the traditional methods, as we prioritize empowering farmers to become integral parts of the business.
Swahili Honey emphasizes the importance of sustainability and the role of honeybees in food production through pollination. Could you elaborate on the initiatives or campaigns that your company has undertaken to promote this message?
Being part of this mission has been truly fulfilling for us. We deeply understand the significance of peace when it comes to pollinating food crops and ensuring the continuity of what we produce. We have actively shared these ideas with farmers, emphasizing the importance of their role in the environment and the food they cultivate.
Our involvement in various projects has allowed us to make a difference. One notable initiative was our participation in a sunflower growers project back in 2017. We were recruited to assist farmers in integrating beekeeping with sunflower cultivation. The concept was simple: by introducing bees to sunflower fields, the pollination process increased sunflower seed output by almost 30%.
Currently, we are also collaborating with avocado farmers in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, helping them establish beehives within their avocado farms. This not only allows us to obtain avocado honey but also enables the bees to pollinate the avocado flowers during the blooming season. Ultimately, bees play a crucial role in the vital process of pollination.
The Swahili Honey brand mark prominently features a honey drop, symbolizing your promise to handle every drop of honey produced with love and care. How does this symbol represent your commitment to the beekeepers and the overall honey production process?
It's interesting how everything eventually circles back to our initial motivations and why we chose to focus on supporting smallholders rather than solely pursuing our own honey production. The core idea was to create an additional source of income for beekeepers and farmers. We wanted to offer our assistance in producing high-quality honey and ensuring it reaches the market, guaranteeing a fair price for their hard work.
Our commitment is to handle every drop of honey that comes from our beekeepers' hives. This dedication is evident in the number of farmers we have collaborated with. Starting with just 15 beekeepers in 2015, we have now expanded to working with over 1800 beekeepers. It's a testament to our unwavering commitment to their success.
With over 350 tons of honey supplied annually, how do you manage the extraction, filtration, and packaging processes to maintain maximum nutritional value while meeting the required food safety standards?
We are fortunate to have a state-of-the-art processing facility located in the capital city of Tanzania namely Dodoma, which I consider one of the best in the country. I can share some pictures with you so you can get a glimpse of it. The facility is equipped with all the necessary equipment to handle the honey production process.
To ensure the purity and quality of the honey, our beekeepers place hives in the protected forests far from human activities. We have strategically placed collection centers near the beekeepers' apiaries, allowing them to bring the honey from the forests to the collection centers with minimal travel distance.
From there, the honey is transported to our facility in Dodoma using trucks. Throughout the entire process, from extraction to processing, we take great care to protect the honey. We carefully package the honey in different packages, ensuring precise packaging for both the export market and smaller retail jars for local markets. This is how our process works.
Could you share some insights into your relationship with the rural beekeepers and their families who entrust their products to Swahili Honey? How does your company ensure a mutually rewarding business relationship with them?
Maintaining a strong relationship with our beekeepers is essential to our business. We believe in fairness and transparency, which is why we engage in open discussions with them regarding pricing. As we enter each season, we sit down with the beekeepers to determine a fair price based on the current world market conditions. This way, they can see that the price we offer is just and competitive. In fact, the prices we provide are nearly three times higher than what they would receive from a middleman.
Building trust and ensuring a mutually beneficial partnership is crucial because without their dedicated efforts in beekeeping, our business would not thrive. We take responsibility for fostering a positive relationship with our beekeepers, as it is in our best interest to support their productivity and growth.