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Beekeeping brings income and peace to Pokot pastoralists

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Beekeeping brings income and peace to Pokot pastoralists

Lucy Maira
Lucy Maira weighs honey at Kodich collection point. Right, some of the products by Kodich beekeepers. PHOTO | BARNABAS BII  

When his herd of cattle and flock of sheep were taken away by cattle raiders from Uganda, Mr Longorian’gole Ripole was devastated as his lifeline had just been cut off.

The herdsman from West Pokot County knew no other source of income to support his wife and four children apart from the stolen livestock. The daunting challenge before him was how to rebuild his life from scratch.

However, several years later his loss of livestock could have been a blessing in disguise. He decided to venture into beekeeping and five years later the enterprise is paying off. In fact he is now preaching the gospel of beekeeping in his community.

“For many years, many people in the region did not consider beekeeping as a meaningful source of income apart from harvesting honey for traditional brews,” says Mr Longorian’gole, 34, now the chairman of Kodich Bee-keeping Self-help Group.

“Livestock is the main economic activity here and loss of animals through raids or drought is a big blow to the community.”

The group, that brings together more than 20 beekeepers from Kodich and other parts of Kacheliba division, is now getting a reliable income after penetrating markets in Western Kenya.

Beekeeping is increasingly being seen as the solution to pastoralists from the Pokot community who have for a long time been involved in cattle raids with their counterparts from Uganda.

For them, livestock are regarded as source of wealth and a symbol of economic status in the society, and hence should be safeguarded by all means possible. However, the ground is gradually shifting from such beliefs thanks to beekeeping.

“We are no longer troubled by the cattle raiders since they do not target beehives and honey that means little to their livelihoods but means a lot to us,” notes Mr Longorian’gole.

“Beekeeping investment has proved more meaningful than animals that expose us to threats of recurrent attacks.”

This venture could prove a game-changer, enthuses Mr Longorian’gole, adding that more people now appreciate that investment in other sources of income can enable them to educate their children and meet their basic needs.

“Apart from income generation, the investment has proved instrumental in combating insecurity caused by cattle raids along the common border since most of the youth who participate in the attacks are now actively involved in honey production,” adds Mr Longorian’gole.

The group received a boost recently when Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) provided them with modern beehives and pledged to assist them secure market for their products at competitive rates.

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The authority, which has established a 17 million training and honey production centres in Kabarnet, Baringo County, buys and process honey from farmers and sell it in various markets in the country.
“Initially, we sold our honey to traders who exploited us by offering low prices but the entry of KVDA has changed our fortunes,” says Mr Longorian’gole.

The KVDA purchases the honey at Sh450 and above a kilo — depending on quality — as opposed to an average of Sh250 by traders.

Mr Longorian’gole is, however quick to admit that it will not be easy for the pastoralists to entirely shift to beekeeping as cattle are highly regarded as main source of income.

“It is not easy changing the cultural attitude of most youth to take up beekeeping as alternative source of income,” he says.

His group started with a capital of Sh100,000 that was enough to build a number of modern beehives. They have significantly grown the enterprise and now they make sufficient profit to give members bonus each year.

The region has two honey harvesting seasons — February to May and July to August.

Lucy Maira, a group member, says beekeeping is steadily transforming the livelihoods of households in the area.

“The culture of cattle raids to acquire wealth is gradually dying off as most youth turn to other alternative source of income generation including beekeeping,” notes Ms Maira.

“We expect to benefit a lot from our partnership with KVDA in terms of modern beehives, attaining higher honey yield and expanding market.”

KVDA Managing Director David Kimosop says the setting up of a Sh17 million training and honey production centre in Kabarnet, Baringo County will boost production of beekeepers in Kerio Valley region.

“We shall be training beekeepers on modern honey production and processing techniques to enable them increase yield and generate more income,” says Mr Kimosop.

The authority, he says targets to process more than 700 tonnes of honey annually.

“There is high potential for honey production in Kerio Valley region and we are out to empower the locals to exploit and improve their livelihoods by tapping these opportunities,” adds Mr Kimosop.

Beekeeping and honey production, he notes has become a huge business in the region owing to low capital needed to set the venture and the presence of a ready market.

“Most youth have received support to invest in honey production as alternative source of income and employment due to low investment as compared to animal husbandry,” discloses Mr Kimosop.

Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that the region produces an average of 500 tonnes of honey annually which contributes to 15 per cent of its total income.

“Ready market for honey has motivated most youth in Kerio Valley to venture into beekeeping after several decades of cattle rustling and banditry activities,” says Wilson Kwambai, a beekeeper.

He, however, adds that absence of market linkages and lack of coordination among various stakeholders and service providers are some of the challenges facing beekeeping and honey production in the county. The pathetic state of infrastructure also poses “serious challenges” in accessing market.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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