Three years ago, Martin decided to do something good for the environment and earn some income in the process. After intensive research, he chose to sell honey. Armed with four thousand Kenya shillings, he bought honey at a local apiary and started selling. He instantly got a good market reception to his disbelief, as so many people were interested in the product. Due to the initial success he went on to buy four beehives to produce his own honey. That is how Nainchu Honey was born.
Four years later, Martin is an active bee farmer with 36 bee colonies, and is a proud owner of Nainchu honey, a Kenyan owned Wellness Company that packages honey sourced from the foothills of the Mount Kenya forest in Meru County.
Martin tells us that the uniqueness of the local mountain honey is that the bees forage from a mixture of wild plants in an ecologically clean area with a specific microclimate. “Nainchu honey is multi-floral and packed with antioxidants that are a natural remedy for day-to-day health challenges.”
Martin, a full-time beekeeper, left employment in 2017 to start bee farming at their family farm in Meru. With no prior knowledge in beekeeping, he enrolled in training classes at the Bee Keeping Institute. “I wanted to practice beekeeping professionally, unlike the traditional ways we are used to. I, therefore, enrolled for a two weeks course at the Bee Keeping Institute, and the skills have really helped me,” he says.
Martin was later joined by his brother and sister in the beekeeping business. The trio now has colonies spread throughout Meru, some in their family land and some in forests in other areas. They periodically check on them, and when the time is right, they remove the frames and harvest the honey.
Martin says they can get up to fifteen kilograms of honey from one beehive, which they sell at Ksh 800 per Kg. “Beekeeping is profitable. At Nainchu, we harvest honey three times a year and do not pasteurize the honey. Instead, we just strain it straight from the hive,” says Martin.
Business is buzzing for Martin, and his siblings as the demand for Naincho honey exceeds what they can supply. Nainchu honey is available in various sizes countrywide and has a domestic and corporate clientele. Most of whom are health conscious individuals. The enterprise sells honey throughout the year. Their business is mainly online through their social media handles and online store.
Asides from honey, the enterprise sells other products made of honey and beeswax, including body cream and propolis.
In addition, Nainchu honey engages in environmental conservation with the local community to save the now endangered Bee. “We engage farmers in out-grower programs around the country, offering fair prices, thereby improving the livelihoods of many families. Nainchu ethically sources the honey,” Martin explains.
The beekeeper is grateful for the help accrued from Kenya Climate Innovation Centre through the AgriBiz programme. “My enterprise received, among other technical training, Result Based Financing from KCIC, which has enabled us to scale our business operations. With this partnership, we hope to acquire more beehives to increase our supplies to meet the market demand,” Martin concludes.